The Indian government had announced a national lockdown of 21 days which got effective from Wednesday, March 25, 2020, due to the high increasing rate of coronavirus spread in the country. The latest move of the government disrupted e-commerce services in India from retailer companies including Amazon.com Inc. (Amazon) and Walmart-owned Flipkart which have made customers despair and disappointed.
21 Days Lockdown
During the 21 days national lockdown, the level of regulations differed from one state to another in terms of prohibiting the types of business operations to avoid the movements of the people.
The National lockdown focused on “self-isolation” or “stay indoors” practices to contain the spread of the virus infection and allowing the movement of only the “essential items” such as medicines, groceries, and daily used items especially through online services. Sources reported that e-commerce firms had been facing difficulties to get passes for delivery staff.
The disruptions could be paramount problems for the country to supply of essential goods to nearly 1.3 billion population, out of which 724 virus-infected cases and 17 deaths have been reported till Friday. However, many industry executives made complaints that local authorities did not follow proper guidelines and stop delivery services and warehouse operations.
In New Delhi after the lockdown announcement from the government, Amazon’s Pantry service was suspended and its delivery slot for essential goods including daily items such as oil and soaps were extended to April 26. Meanwhile, the Indian trade minister, Piyush Goyal explained that the government was “committed to ensuring that essential goods reach the people” after holding a meeting with e-commerce executives on Thursday.
Turbulence for E-Commerce Services
Since the small part of Amazon’s operations were allowed and most of their operations in India were forced to stop, sources reported that the world’s leading e-commerce firm started taking to various state authorities to allow them to reopen their operations. Citing the sudden halt of the online delivery service, a source stated, “It’s worse than one can think.”
In a statement, Amazon said the company has been urging the Indian authorities to help out with the detailed policy for on-the-ground operating procedures so that it could continue its services without the hindrance from the lockdown. Amazon said on Twitter in response to questions from users in India, “There are clear guidelines provided by Government to enable essential services, and so we are working with the relevant authorities to ensure we are able to operate.”
Amazon’s rival, Walmart-owned Flipkart has also been facing the same problems and reported that some of its grocery items which were available earlier on Friday going out of stock soon. A source reported that the e-commerce firm, Flipkart was facing challenges that the delivery of its last-mile goods was in trouble due to the restrictions on movement.
Flipkart officials said in a statement that it had resumed grocery operations but was facing a significant decline in orders. The statement also read, “We are enhancing capacity to meet the increase in customer requirements,” once it received support from local and federal authorities.
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