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Swiggy, Zomato start online alcohol delivery in Jharkhand

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Swiggy and Zomato will start home delivering alcohol in Ranchi today. While Swiggy’s service is already live according to a company press release, Zomato’s service will go live later today, a company spokesperson told MediaNama. Zomato said it will extend the service to 7 other cities in Jharkhand over the next couple of days, and Swiggy said it will cover “other major cities in the state launching within a week”.

Swiggy users in Ranchi will be able order alcohol from a new “Wine Shops” category in the app. We’ve asked Zomato about the updates it’s making to its app. Both the platforms said that they have obtained necessary licences to carry out this service. Interestingly, Swiggy’s CEO, Sriharsha Majety, a few days ago, while laying off 1,100 employees, had said that Swiggy will invest in “high-confidence efforts” such as grocery delivery and “other service offerings”, and has already re-aligned some employees from other businesses into these initiatives.

Swiggy is using face recognition for age verification: Swiggy is relying on facial recognition to ensure that it doesn’t end up delivering alcohol to someone who isn’t old enough for its consumption. The app will require a “mandatory age verification” and “user authentication” to complete deliveries. The app will require users to upload a valid government ID followed by an image of their face, and will then carry out age verification using an “AI-powered system”.  We have asked Swiggy about what it will do with the government IDs and facial data of users, including if it will store them, and for how long. We’ve also asked them if the processing of this data happens on a user’s device or on Swiggy’s servers. At the moment, we don’t know how about Zomato will verify users’ age, and if it will be similar to Swiggy. We’ve reached out to them for clarification.

For alcohol delivered by Swiggy, all orders will carry a unique OTP which will have to be provided by the customer at the time of delivery. “There is also a capping on the order quantity to ensure a customer does not order alcohol above the prescribed limit as per the state law”, the company said. Swiggy is partnering with authorised retailers after validating their licence and other required documents, and has virtually trained delivery persons regarding fulfilment of orders. Swiggy is also in “advanced stages” of discussions with multiple state governments to offer similar services.

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