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E-Commerce companies cannot sell non-essentials: Home Ministry

The Home ministry on Sunday issued an order prohibiting e-commerce players to sell non-essential commodities from April 20. 

The order comes just days after the ministry issued comprehensive lockdown guidelines which allowed e-commerce platforms to operate, if vehicles carrying such products obtain necessary permission and pass. However, the order did not mention if they are allowed to sell essential as well as non-essential products. 

The ministry’s new order means e-commerce players like Flipkart and Amazon can only sell essential items and cannot deliver electronic or consumer durable products like mobile phones,  refrigerators or apparels. 

The order came amidst news reports that retail traders also sought a level playing field with e-commerce players and sought the government’s nod to sell non-essentials from April 20.

Soon after the Home ministry’s order, Commerce & Industry minister Piyush Goyal thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for creating a level playing field for small retailers.

Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, Confederation of All India Traders, also thanked the Prime Minister for his intervention.

However, E-commerce companies are allowed to sell essential commodities such as food, pharmaceutical and medical devices.

A nation-wide lockdown imposed by the government on March 25 to contain the coronavirus spread in the country expired on April 14. Amidst a mounting number of positive cases, the government extended the lockdown further till May 3.

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