Retailers' body seeks permission for contactless home delivery of goods
After the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) came out with guidelines that enabled ecommerce players to operate, the Retailers Association of India (RAI) on Wednesday urged the government to consider allowing all forms of home delivery of goods in a contactless manner.
"The guidelines bring the focus that the government has on maintaining social distancing while ensuring that consumers get what they want in a safe and contactless manner. It demonstrates the intent to support the safety of the people while also enabling movement of goods required to ensure economic activities.
"We urge the government to strongly consider that all forms of home delivery across retailers be allowed the benefit of doing business via contactless home delivery," RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said in a statement here.
He said, allowing this for all retailers, and not just ecommerce players, will facilitate the availability of all the goods at the doorsteps of customers.
"This will ensure that there are fewer reasons for the public to step outside of their homes. It will also ensure a greater availability of supplies and help conform to the requirement of social distancing. This move will further support the economic revival for the country as well as allow for new avenues of job creation in the market," he added.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) came out with an advisory to all the traders across the country registered on various ecommerce platforms that during the lockdown period and till any further guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs, they should restrict their business activities only to essential goods as per the guidelines.
CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said the MHA guidelines issued makes it clear that the ecommerce companies can only deliver essential goods.
However, it is unfortunate that some companies have misinterpreted the guidelines and have told traders to start preparing for delivery of any goods whether essential or non-essential from April 21 onwards, he said.
The guidelines, which permits ecommerce companies to operate, is only to facilitate the movement of essential goods and not all types of goods, the advisory added.
Khandelwal further said "under clause 14(v) ecommerce is allowed but clause 13(i) stipulates the extent, and therefore the traders must desist themselves in trading non essential goods on any platform otherwise they will have to face the penal provisions under assister Management Act, which has been made part of the guidelines.
In order to avoid any penal action under the strict MHA guidelines, the small traders doing online business should not under any circumstances return to normal business without further clarification from the Ministry, he said.
"The non-essential traders also must read cautiously and put health before business as the coronavirus cases in the country are still in an upward trend and we are in a national lockdown till May 3," he added.