NEW DELHI: If you are residing in Delhi, Maharashtra, Jharkhand or some other part of the country facing lockdown; then pray that you don’t face any urgent need to buy smartphones, laptops or any other electronic items. The state governments that have announced lockdowns to tackle rising Covid-19 cases have mandated that only essential items can be sold online and offline. Essential items include medicines, food items, sanitary products and other day-to-day household items. Mobile phones, laptops, routers, batteries, appliances and all other electronics do not come in this essentials list and are hence barred from being sold online.
With mobile and electronics shops closed, people have no choice to buy electronic items online. So, state governments have taken this decision to ensure a level playing field for both online and offline businesses.
Earlier this month, as coronavirus cases begun to rise and the speculations of likely lockdown started, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) wrote a mail to minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal to intervene and ensure that e-commerce companies like Amazon, Flipkart and others too are not allowed to deliver non-essential goods in states where curfew is imposed. The trade body said that this is extremely “important to maintain parity between online and offline trade.”
CAIT represents over eight crore traders across India through 40,000 trade associations. The trade body in its letter to the minister said that e-commerce companies may “pressurise” the governments, through lobby groups, to allow sale and delivery of non-essential goods in places where lockdown and curfews have been imposed.
Ban is not just for Amazon and Flipkart
While e-commerce majors like Amazon and Flipkart have stopped deliveries of all electronic goods and are only sticking to selling essential items for pincodes of Delhi and Maharashtra; the online stores of chains like Croma, Reliance Digital and others are either showing most electronic goods as out of stock or are deferring delivery dates to May 2021 the moment a buyer selects pincodes of these cities.
Individual online stores like those of Apple and Xiaomi too have shut deliveries entirely for Delhi and Maharashtra residents while other smartphone brands are showing delayed delivery dates.
Laptop brands like HP and Lenovo have stopped deliveries while Dell is showing most items as ‘out-of-stock’. Acer is showing delivery dates of at least April 27 for buyers in these regions.
Major e-commerce platforms shutting down deliveries for electronics items in Delhi and Maharashtra could be concerning given that most employees are working from home in these two regions.