In a bid to take stock of the ecommerce challenges amid the current lockdown and pandemic, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal interacted with CEOs of ecommerce players, online grocery platforms and its supporting companies.
In a meeting on Tuesday, Goyal interacted with CEOs of Flipkart, Snapdeal, Grofers, BigBasket, Delhivery, Amazon among others. Goyal sought an update on the supply chain issues the companies faced earlier and had shared with him in a meeting last week.
The companies reportedly informed the minister that while supply chain issues had been solved to some extent, the challenge right now was a shortage of manpower on the ground. The minister said that things have improved, albeit slowly, but now is the time to fasten the process.
The companies also reportedly sought to expedite the process of obtaining licenses to allow them to stock food and pharmaceutical supplies to improve the availability of such essentials for consumers.
Earlier, Goyal held discussions with various stakeholders from ecommerce and logistics industry on a video call. He tweeted saying he also discussed measures that can be taken to resolve issues as soon as possible. “We are committed to ensuring that essential goods reach the people in the most convenient and safest manner,” he added.
After asking state governments to allow the delivery of essential products from ecommerce channels amid coronavirus outbreak in India, the DPIIT had also established a control room. The control room is monitoring the supply chain of essential commodities in real-time. It is ensuring that the transportation and delivery of essential items don’t face any disruption amid the lockdown to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.
At present, the companies have been able to start operations again but are first focusing on delayed orders. BigBasket said it will first focus on fulfilling existing orders before accepting new order.
Further, the companies are working with retailers and hotels’ associations to increase the manpower. For instance, Grofers was looking to hire an existing idle semi-skilled workforce in its warehouses across cities. Similarly, it has come to light that BigBasket has partnered with the National Restaurant Association of India and Retail Association of India to offer jobs to those laid off due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
The company is reportedly offering temporary job opportunities for restaurant staff and retail employees registered with NRAI and RAI. RAI noted that modern retail has de-grown by 30-40% in the last 15 days due to supply chain problems, shortage of manpower with attendance below 30% and lower customer entry due to social distancing.