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E-commerce delivery of essential goods exempted from 21-day COVID-19 curfew: Home Ministry

Update 10:10 pm: The Ministry of Home Affairs has exempted delivery of all essential goods through e-commerce from the 21-day curfew that will go into effect at midnight on March 25. This includes delivery of food, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment. This 21-day curfew has been imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in India. You're reading it here first: Treat e-commerce functions, such as delivery, warehouse operations, shipping and logistics, as essential functions, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) told all state governments in an advisory to permit IT/ITeS industry to carry out essential functions. To plausibly ensure that delivery personnel and other associated employees are carrying out these functions, the Ministry advised the state governments to treat "copy of orders, way bills, invoices" as evidence. The advisory, dated March 24, has been issued by Rajiv Kumar, the joint secretary at MEITY. Kumar's office confirmed the authenticity of the attached document (see below). Earlier today, Reuters had reported that e-commerce and online grocery delivery services were being disrupted across the country as multiple states have locked down to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Section 144 has also been imposed in multiple parts of the country, making it harder for delivery personnel to operate, and for warehouse employees to get to work. Flipkart and Amazon temporarily suspended logistics services for sellers across regions, according to an Economic Times report. The problem that e-commerce companies are facing right now is that different states have come out with different guidelines on…

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