The government on Sunday prohibited the sale of non-essential items through e-commerce platforms during the ongoing lockdown, four days after allowing such companies to sell mobile phones, televisions, laptops, refrigerators, and ready-made garments.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued an order excluding the non-essential items from sale by the e-commerce companies from the consolidated revised guidelines, which listed the exemption given to the services and people from the purview of the lockdown.
The order said the following clause — “E-commerce companies. Vehicles used by e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions” — is excluded from the guidelines.
The previous order by the Ministry of Home Affairs had said such items were allowed for sale through e-commerce platforms from April 20. However, the reason for reversing the order is not immediately known.
According to Wednesday’s guidelines, commercial and private establishments were allowed to operate during the extended lockdown.
“Vehicles used by e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions,” the ministry had said.
The previous notifications of the home ministry had specifically said that e-commerce platforms are allowed to sell only essential goods like food, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
The guidelines released on Wednesday did not classify essential and non-essential items. The move was viewed as an attempt by the government to revive the industrial and commercial activities which have been stalled due to the lockdown since March 25.