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Ban On Delivery Services In Delhi Ahead Of G20 Summit Will Affect Consumers, Gig Workers: Experts

Companies providing food services have reached out to the government requesting permission to operate as an essential service during the Summit.

Food delivery services, cloud kitchens, and commercial activities will not be allowed in New Delhi from September 8 to 10 in view of the G20 Summit scheduled to be held in the national capital on September 9 and 10, according to a report by The Indian Express. Importantly, medical services and delivery of essential medical supplies will not be affected by the restrictions, as per information provided by the Delhi police to the media.

“We can’t allow cloud kitchen and food delivery services. Internet delivery companies such as Amazon and Flipkart will also not be allowed to operate in the controlled zone. Delivery executives can take medicines and essential items,” Surender Singh Yadav, Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) said as per the Indian Express report. He added that in addition to medical facilities, postal services will also remain unaffected.

Impact on livelihoods of gig workers: While shutting down delivery services in addition to restrictions on people’s movements is bound to impact businesses and access to food, such restrictions will primarily affect the livelihoods of gig workers, Dr. Aruna Sharma, retired IAS and former secretary to the Government of India, pointed out.

“Owing to constrained mobility within the New Delhi district, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in the demand for food delivery and various other services. Even time-sensitive e-commerce deliveries are likely to be adversely affected, thereby diminishing the satisfaction of consumers who have paid premiums for priority services. Additionally, this situation will directly impact the livelihoods of gig workers, who typically rely on daily assignments for their income,” Sharma added in a quote shared with MediaNama.

Platforms write to the government: Given that markets and other offline shops would not be allowed to operate during the Summit, experts indicate that there will be greater demand for delivery services. “With the retail shops being shut down during the G20 Summit and the expected influx of visitors, delivery services will be of prime importance for the delivery of goods and banning this will severely inconvenience the consumers as well as sellers, who could normally cater to their customers, through home delivery,” observed Vinod Kumar, President, India SME Forum.

Companies providing food services have reached out to the government requesting permission to operate as an essential service during the Summit. As business would suffer during the period, e-commerce platforms and cloud kitchen operators in Delhi have also taken steps to reduce stock items in order to avoid wastage of essential supplies, Economic Times reported.

According to a report by Inc42, the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) has written to the Delhi government stating that “food deliveries from restaurants should be allowed as was done during the COVID-19 pandemic”. In 2020, the union government exempted delivery of e-commerce goods, including food, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment from the restrictions placed during the first nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19.

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