Thursday 23 April 2020

IAMAI requests government to fully open e-commerce

IAMAI requests government to fully open e-commerceNEW DELHI: The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on Monday requested the government to open up e-commerce services amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The Centre, in its order on April 15, had said e-commerce platforms would be allowed to sell non-essential items from April 20. However, on April 19, the government reversed its order and prohibited e-commerce platforms from selling non-essential items during the lockdown.

Responding to the last minute announcement made by the ministry of home affairs, the IAMAI urged the government to reconsider its decision.

"IAMAI believes that the debate of online vs offline is an incorrect portrayal of the ground reality. There are lakhs of sellers from the physical markets across India who also sell online. In fact it is these medium & small offline enterprises that are powering the online e-commerce in a significant way," the association said in a statement.

"Resumption of one part of their business will help them with liquidity and will lead to larger restoration of demand,"it said, adding, "Besides, thousands of Kiranas are now leveraging E-commerce and its proven and safe supply chain for delivery to consumers. Today the only priority is to emphasize on 'Social Distancing' and e-commerce can support India's fight against Covid-19."

The IAMAI statement said that after nearly a month of lockdown, the debate is not necessarily between what is 'essential' and what is 'non-essential' but the real debate is how not to choke demand completely when the country is going through a health crisis.

"The key to "returning to normal" is the fulfilment of consumer demand which under the present public health crisis can be effectively done through e-commerce," it maintained.

"IAMAI, therefore, strongly suggests that whatever can be delivered to the customer safely keeping in mind the health crisis, should be allowed immediately," the statement said.

Subho Ray, president IAMAI, said: "Preservation of consumer demand is of prime importance that will keep the economy chugging along as the country starts the difficult process of economic recovery. This demand needs to be met and nurtured towards restoration rather than being suppressed to a future date. Online commerce is a safe and ready choice that is open to all sellers, including those who continue to see it is a threat. Lakhs of small sellers have embraced online channels and are today equipped to serve the country. Allowing full operations of e-commerce is the first step towards economic revival - one that helps buyers, but more importantly helps small businesses stay alive and start building towards a recovery."


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