Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has just made a major announcement regarding the current nation-wide lockdown. This major announcement comes just hours before the government was set to ease restrictions. According to the announcement, the ministry has rolled back on some of its guidelines to relax ban on e-commerce operations. The ban on e-commerce operations will likely continue as in the past. This announcement confirmed that the ban will stay in effect for non-essential goods. However, it did not provide any difference between essential and non-essential goods. The change in stance comes just days after MHA revealed new guidelines on April 15, 2020. Let’s take a closer look at the new guidelines for lockdown 2.0. Also Read - Google thanks all coronavirus front line helpers in final Doodle
Lockdown 2.0: e-commerce ban to continue
According to the information available online, Ajay Bhalla, the Union Home Secretary has just signed a fresh order hours ago. It says, “In continuation of Ministry of Home Affairs”, Bhalla has ordered to exclude “E-commerce companies” from operating. However, the report noted that e-commerce operators will be able to use their vehicles “with necessary permissions”. It is worth noting that this new order talks about non-essential goods but does not provide any details. This likely means that the order will apply to the entire e-commerce channel. MHA has also asked all the states, ministries, and departments to enforce this order with “strict implementation”. Also Read - Coronavirus: Apple Mobility data reveals more than 70 percent decline in walking and driving after lockdown
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This order is likely to come as a rude shock to e-commerce giants. As previously noted, platforms such as Flipkart, Amazon India, Myntra and more were gearing up for the relaxation. In fact, most platforms had already publicized the relaxation on their websites and social media handles. Some of the platforms even started taking orders to a range of products. Also Read - Coronavirus: US Senator questions contact tracing effort from Apple and Google
— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 19, 2020
A report also noted that this move comes days after the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) applied some pressure. This ban is likely to ensure that e-commerce platforms do not turn out to be one-stop-shop for everything non-essential. The order also does not reveal any other information regarding any relaxation in the future during coronavirus pandemic.