Karnataka allows e-commerce firms to ship all goods

Karnataka has allowed e-commerce firms to ship all goods in the state, as Covid-19 cases have been steadily declining in capital Bengaluru.

In a notification issued on Wednesday, the state government
reversed its May 9 order restricting e-commerce operators from shipping non-essential goods.

The late-night order had taken the e-commerce firms – including dominant players Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart — by surprise.

ET reported then that the state’s flip-flop in its e-commerce policy was due to pressure from the Centre to better manage Covid-19 cases in Bengaluru.

“This is a welcome move by the state government,” said a senior executive at a leading e-commerce company. “We are starting to see some kind of small recovery in demand in Tier-1 cities as cases have begun to come down. They might have seen consumers asking for this.”

The move comes days after e-commerce operations in several districts of the state had come to a standstill after local authorities clamped down on movement of people and vehicles.

Third-party logistics operators – which e-commerce firms rely on in smaller cities — were reportedly forced to shut operations by district authorities. E-commerce players had said that the restrictions not only affected deliveries of non-essential goods, but also essential items ordered by consumers.

Another executive told ET that Karnataka’s move to ease the curbs would provide much-needed relief to delivery agents.

The Bengaluru city police had in the past few days stepped up checks on what products delivery personnel were carrying, leading to increased cases of seizures, he added.

The industry, however, continues to face issues in major markets such as Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and other states, which still restrict them from shipping non-essential goods.

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Food delivery operators such as Swiggy and Zomato, which have been exempt from restrictions in most states,
faced issues in Hyderabad over the weekend when the city’s police stopped several delivery agents.

In Tamil Nadu, movement of two-wheelers, the most common mode for last-mile e-commerce deliveries, has been banned.



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