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Maharashtra Mulls Allowing Ecommerce Deliveries Of Non-Essential Products

Maharashtra Mulls Allowing Ecommerce Deliveries Of Non-Essential Products

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade is in talks with the state government and the industry to assess a possible relaxation on the curbs

Currently, only the delivery of essential goods has been allowed through ecommerce portals

The Maharashtra government has asked for a week’s time to review the situation on the ground, post which, the curbs may be relaxed

Maharashtra could allow the delivery of non-essential goods through ecommerce platforms in a week, as it reviews some of the rules under the state-wide lockdown that began on April 14 and will run till May 1.

According to ET, which first reported the development, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is in talks with the state government and the industry to assess a possible relaxation on the curbs. Currently, only the delivery of essential goods has been allowed through ecommerce portals. 

According to the report, the Maharashtra government has asked for a week’s time to review the situation on the ground, post which the curbs may be relaxed. 

Maharashtra, like the rest of India, is seeing a surge in Covid cases. On April 16, the state recorded 63,729 infections, its biggest single-day tally since the pandemic began last year. There are more than 6 lakh active Covid cases in the state today. 

To curb the spread of the infection, the state placed stringent curfew-like restrictions earlier this month, under which, only the movement of essential workers and products has been allowed. 

The national capital Delhi, which had previously imposed a night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am, has also placed similar curfew-like restrictions on this weekend i.e. April 17-18. 

While food and grocery deliveries through ecommerce operators have been allowed, there has been some concern over whether these platforms will be able to handle the surge in demand, as panic buying and hoarding begins again. 

This week, an Inc42 report analysed that online grocery portals such as BigBasket and Grofers witnessed a surge in demand in areas where curfew-like restrictions have been placed. At the same time, customers of these portals complained online of late deliveries. 

If Covid cases continue to increase across the country, India’s ecommerce startups would have to again employ their lockdown playbooks from last year particularly to figure out updates in curfews and curbs on a day-to-day basis, as well as find ways to cover the losses from not being able to deliver non-essential products. 

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