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Flipkart and Amazon India are not back in business

Flipkart had been preparing to open shop in India again. (Source: Flipkart)
Flipkart had been preparing to open shop in India again. (Source: Flipkart)
The Indian government had released new guidelines that allow online shopping sites to get up and running in the country once again. These measures, which permit order fulfilment as usual nationwide with certain necessary caveats, were to take effect from today (April 20, 2020). However, the authorities have now chosen to reverse this decision.

The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) revised movement-of-persons guidelines have come into effect from today (April 20, 2020). They had had been reportedly formulated to allow for the resumption of e-commerce in the country as ordinary citizens remain subject to the Covid-19 pandemic-related lockdown requirements until May 3 2020.

The plans had been intended to allow consumers to order from sites such as and Flipkart as normal once again, whereas these sites were restricted to offering "essential" goods such as goceries before this. These goods woud have been delivered to their homes in a contactless manner, so as to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Furthermore, the MHA's guidelines also called for "sanitized supply chains" for enhanced safety.

However, the MHA had subsequently performed a volte-face on these more lenient measures, meaning that residents remain prohibited from ordering on these sites. The body has cited the risks of Covid-19-borne illness in its latest decision. A public policy researcher has described the development as an "unfortunate step that will not ease the burden on the economy or the people of India".

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Deirdre O Donnell, 2020-04-20 (Update: 2020-04-20)