These are difficult times, times like no other. Never before, have communities stayed apart to stay safe: Flipkart said. (Photo Credit: Flipkart)
Flipkart became the first major e-commerce website to suspend its services during the 21-day coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday. While the home ministry's order had clearly listed the e-commerce sites as part of essential services, the decision be Flipkart may come as shocker for some. There have been reports that those into the home delievry services have complained about the police and local authorities harassing the staff. In a notice on its website, Flipkart said: "Hello Fellow Indians, We are temporarily suspending our services. Your needs have always been our priority, and our promise is that we will be back to serve you, as soon as possible. These are difficult times, times like no other. Never before, have communities stayed apart to stay safe! Never before, has being at home meant helping the nation. we urge you to stay home to stay safe! We will get there. And we will get through. Together."
E-retail giant Amazon is tweaking its sales strategy. Instead of suspending the entire services, Amazon is prioritising the items. The new sale formula has already been in force in the US. Now, anybody in India trying to place an order on Amazon will get a message about purchase prirority. "To serve customers' most urgent needs while also ensuring safety of our associates, we are prioritizing all our reseorces to serve products that are currently high priority for customers. Other products are temporrarily unavailable for purchase," Amazon said on the website. Other major companies such as Supr, Milk Basket and Big Basket have also suspended their home delievery services.
On Tuesday, the Narendra Modi government invoked the National Disaster Management Act, 2005 to impose 21-day lockdown across the in the mega battle to fight coronavirus pandemic. The Act calls for the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority with the Prime Minister of India as chairperson. The NDMA is responsible for "laying down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management" and to ensure "timely and effective response to the disaster". Principal secretary Nipendra Mishra and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba reportedly spoke to state chief secretaries and DGPs to chalk out the functional aspect of the lockdown. "The Ministries/ Departments of Government of India and State Governments/Union Territory Administrations, have been directed to ensure strict implementation of these Orders," a Union Home Ministry statement said adding it will also monitor the implementation of these measures.
Under the lockdown, following services that have been deemed essential will no be affected. They are hospitals, labs, ambulances, ration shops, fruit and vegetable selling points, banks, ATMs, print and electronic media, internet and cable services, e-commerce, petrol pumps, LPG outlets, warehousing services among others. Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, the home ministry statement said.