Flipkart, after suspending all of its operations earlier, is set to resume delivery of essential goods such as grocery, later today. Flipkart, and several other ecommerce retailers across the country were facing issues in getting around state police authorities due to unclear directives by the central government amid a nation-wide lockdown. CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy however confirmed via a tweet, that government and local authorities have provided assurances on functioning of e-commerce during the ongoing nationwide lockdown.
We are grateful for the clarification provided by the government and local state authorities on the functioning of e-commerce during the lockdown. We are resuming our grocery services today.
India, we are committed to serving you at this time 🙏 Thank you for your trust
— Kalyan Krishnamurthy (@_Kalyan_K) March 25, 2020
The 21-day lockdown, which kicked in from midnight today, was supposed to have an exemption for e-commerce agencies delivering essential services. But, as was discovered by the delivery agents in the harshest possible way, that was not the case.
Almost all major e-commerce platforms in the country wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office to get assurances on the safety of their delivery staff as well as exemption from the lockdown. The platforms had complained of harassment by local authorities, even though essential services were clearly exempted from the curfew.
Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, earlier stated to News18, “We have been assured of the safe and smooth passage of our supply chain and delivery executives by local law enforcement authorities and are resuming our grocery & essentials services later today. We continue to strengthen our supply chain in a safe & secure manner for our employees & consumers alike, and will leverage our efficient & robust delivery network to make products available to customers.”
E-grocers, like Grofers, Big Basket, and Milk Basket, also reported heavy losses due to disruption in services after a number of cases of delivery agents being harassed by the police surfaced today as well as the shutting down of their warehouses by the local agencies. Amazon, one of the two biggest e-commerce players in the country along with Flipkart, has already suspended delivery for non-essential items and services.
At the time of publishing this piece, Flipkart was yet to resume any new ordering on its web/mobile platform. However, based on the order queue that already exists with most ecommerce companies, we believe the company is perhaps clearing backorders, and will soon resume fresh ordering. We will keep this piece updated on the same.
India, in the largest of its kind measure to contain the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), announced a 21 day complete national lockdown yesterday. The government has also cleared the way for private testing as well, issuing licenses to 16 private lab chains to conduct tests for COVID-19 across the country.
PM Modi also said that the essential supplies are in abundance and requested the public to not hoard on supplies. He repeatedly stressed staying indoors in a tone, that implied strict measures are in place for those who venture out. He also announced a package of 15,000 Crores (~$2Bn) to be infused into the medical set up across the country as India gears for “stage 3” of the COVID-19 spread.
Amid other related developments, a Pune based molecular diagnostics company MyLabs announced, that it had developed a COVID-19 testing kit and has already received government clearance for what would be the first & “made in India” testing kit. The kit also reduces the time of testing from 4 hours to 2.5 hours.