The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), which represents all E-commerce entities including horizontal Multi Brand Product Retail Trading (MBRT) platforms, vertical MBRT platforms, Single Brand Retail Trading (SBRT) or Direct to Consumer services (D2C) services who collectively facilitate lakhs of livelihoods has requested the government to open up E-commerce services to address the dual challenge of economic revival and address public health issues.
Contrary to common belief, E-commerce benefits smaller sellers and manufacturer the most and takes care of the economic issue of the level playing field between offline and online retailers.
The government has allowed many activities in Orange and Green zones but Red Zone is still blocked in most activities. This is creating a lot of problems for the people who are living in Red Zone, which includes all the metro cities of India.
IAMAI’s road map for opening up E-commerce is based on the current containment model of zoning. For Green Zone, IAMAI has suggested that all E-commerce entities abiding by the standard SOP may be permitted to operate at par with other establishments following similar SOPs to facilitate sales of all possible items, without any requirement for passes or permissions.
For Orange Zones, IAMAI has suggested that delivery of all goods be allowed on the basis of passes for vehicles and on the basis of company authorization as is being done in some States. IAMAI has further suggested that individual passes should be done away with as there is high absenteeism of workforce due to wage protection leading to under utilization of the passes issued by the authorities.
In Red Zone, IAMAI stated that all E-commerce entities are allowed to sell basic “essentials” that may include priority products that families and customers are demanding. However, the essentials may include a much wider category of products than what the government allows at the moment.
IAMAI has also suggested that items such as kitchenware, Electronic appliances like refrigerators, mixers, grinder, water coolers, water purifiers etc (those not requiring installation), laptops, charger, routers, computer peripherals; coolers and other summer products; mobiles; stationery; innerwear, apparel & footwear; home lighting (LED bulbs etc) be allowed over and above the items already permitted.
IAMAI has said that delivery of extended essential items in Red Zones can be based on vehicle passes and E-commerce may be permitted to deliver at the periphery of containment zones or housing clusters within large containment zones.
Commenting on the blueprint that was shared with the government earlier today, IAMAI president, Subho Ray, said, “The blue print will immediately impact three large groups of people – lakhs of small sellers, thousands of small manufacturers, lakhs of delivery associates, and millions of consumers”. He added that “from the health and safety perspective too, it is better to have 5 lakh delivery associates on our streets with proper safety equipment than 2 crore shoppers daily.”
It is to be noted that CII has given a proposal asking for the restarting of all industrial activities including production and services across all zones in the industry-intensive areas. IAMAI’s proposal should be in relation to the CII’s proposal.