The government issued a new guideline, allowing e-commerce for providing delivery of essential goods. The step has been taken to ensure that the supply of essential goods is not hampered. The aim behind the guideline is to encourage home delivery of ration, dairy, fruits and vegetables, pharmaceuticals and other such essential goods.

The guideline also clarifies that the enforcing authorities are empowered to regulate the movement of people, but the essential goods provider should not be restricted. In order to relieve people who have been facing difficulties during the lockdown period, the government further stated that it was important that the availability of such essential goods is not interrupted. The government also issued a standard operating procedure in this regard which needs to be followed for smooth running of supply chain. The government directed, that for the availability of essential goods through local retails or large organized retail stores or e-commerce and for their smooth running, operation of the following are important as well:

  1. Supplying of essential goods including restaurants providing home delivery of cooked food items.
  2. Storage facilities of such essential goods viz. warehouse, godown etc.
  • Transporters, drivers, loaders, etc. carrying essential goods from one place of manufacture to wholesalers/retailers, which may be intra city, inter-city or inter- state.
  1. Manufacturing units of essential goods including drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, their raw materials and intermediates.

The standard operating procedure directed that the unorganized sector and people involved in supply of essential goods with approval from the local authority can function. All these commercial entities will have to make sure that only bare minimum staff is working. They must keep the regular health and sanitation check on the employees working and provide them with adequate protective gear.

The guideline also directs the state government to have a 24/7 control room for registering complaints/grievances and share such numbers at large. The guidelines came in light of complaints received from e-commerce operating in delivery of essential goods about the indiscriminatory actions of police. The police while discharging their duty to regulate the movement of people on the road, in certain incidents have been found harassing such delivery boys. In order to reduce the movement of people it is important that instead of people stepping out to buy essential goods, such goods should get home delivered.

Official Guideline: Standing Operating Procedure on supply of essential goods