The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Thursday protested against the Maharashtra and Odisha Governments’ decision to allow delivery of all products through e-commerce firms like Amazon and Flipkart. The CAIT in a representation to the Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal complained that this move of the State Governments is sheer violation of MHA Guidelines which allow only delivery of essential commodities through e-Commerce firms.
The traders’ body accused e-commerce giants of vanishing during the Lockdown period and it was unfair from the state governments to allow them to supply non-essential items after April 21, while the local shops are not allowed to supply non-essential items.
“In a communication sent to Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal today, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has highly objected to the notifications of Maharashtra & Odisha Government allowing e-Commerce Companies to trade into non-essential commodities also which is much against the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs released on 15th April 2020. Such move of these Governments and preparedness of e-Commerce Companies to began their operations from 21st April 2020 for all kinds of goods shall tantamount to create an uneven level playing field and will give rise to unnecessary conflicts. The CAIT has demanded that the Union Government immediately advise the Government of Maharashtra & Odisha to withdraw the said notification being not in line with the guidelines of MHA,” said CAIT leaders B C Bhartia and Praveen Khandelwal.
The CAIT has sent similar communication to Home Minister Amit Shah, Urban Development Minister Hardeep Puri, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and DPIIT Secretary Gurudas Mohapatra. The traders’ body said that MHA guidelines issued on April 15 for the second lockdown period, in clause 13 (i) clearly states that e-Commerce companies can conduct online delivery of essential items only. “However it’s unfortunate that Odisha and Maharashtra State Governments have misinterpreted the notification and issued orders for e-Commerce to permit delivery of all kinds of goods including electronics. Infact the Odisha Government issued their guidelines on 13th April much before the guidelines issued by the Union Home Ministry,” said the CAIT.
The CAIT said that when the COVID-19 lockdown was announced, India’s small retailers like “true Corona Warriors”, fearlessly stepped out of their houses to fulfill the requirements of essentials throughout the country whereas the large e-Commerce giants decided to shut shop and quietly disappeared. “It will be highly unfair if the e-Commerce players are allowed to deliver all kinds of goods whereas Brick and Mortar retailers are allowed to deal only in essential commodities,” said the traders’ body.
“We are a national company and can’t start delivering non-essentials in only a few states. We are right now waiting to see which states are allowing ecommerce from April 20 and whether they are adjacent to each other so we can run operations smoothly,” said an ecommerce company executive on condition of anonymity.
 Amid COVID-19 lockdown, Flipkart, Amazon hiring staff to ramp up operations after April 20 – Apr 16, 2020, CNBC News18