No non-essentials at your doorstep from today: Government

Updated: Apr 20, 2020, 07:37 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

Asked why the government made a U-turn on the matter, joint secretary in the home ministry, Punya Salila Srivastava says the Coronavirus situation has been very dynamic and hence decisions are being taken on a day-to-day basis

A traffic police officer stops commuters during a nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, in Ghaziabad, on Sunday. Pic/PTI
A traffic police officer stops commuters during a nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, in Ghaziabad, on Sunday. Pic/PTI

The government on Sunday prohibited e-commerce platforms from selling non-essential items during the lockdown, four days after allowing the companies to sell mobile phones, refrigerators and ready-made garments. Union Home Secretary, Ajay Bhalla issued an order excluding the non-essential items from the cart of e-commerce companies.

The order said the following clause — "e-commerce companies. Vehicles used by e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions" — is excluded from the guidelines. Asked why the government made a U-turn on the matter, Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry, Punya Salila Srivastava said the COVID-19 situation has been very dynamic and the government is taking decisions on a day-to-day basis. When the government has realised that allowing non-essential commodities to sell through e-commerce platforms may affect the proper implementation of the lockdown, the decision was reviewed and reversed, she said at a daily joint briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak. The April 15 order had said e-commerce platforms were allowed to sell such items from April 20.

The reason for reversing the order was not known immediately, but there was a talk of some retail traders mounting pressure on the government that local shops be also allowed to sell non-essentials items, like e-commerce giants. e-commerce platforms, however, are allowed to sell essential commodities such as food, pharmaceutical and medical devices. The previous order said, "Supply of essential goods is allowed, as under: All facilities in the supply chain of essential goods, whether involved in manufacturing, wholesale or retail of such goods through local stores, large brick and mortar stores or e-commerce companies should be allowed to operate, ensuring strict social distancing without any restriction on their timing of opening and closure." A day later, Home Ministry officials said electronic items such as mobile phones, TVs, refrigerators, laptop computers, ready-made garments, stationery items for schoolchildren would be available on the e-commerce platforms from April 20.

Coronavirus maintains its grip on India

Thermal screening of security personnel being conducted as they stand guard on a street in Bhopal, on Sunday. Pic/PTI
Thermal screening of security personnel being conducted as they stand guard on a street in Bhopal, on Sunday. Pic/PTI

. There is no proposal for reduction of pension and no action is being contemplated by the government in this respect, the Centre said on Sunday. The assertion assumes significance as rumours are afloat that the government is contemplating reduction or stoppage of pension.

. The Uttar Pradesh government has removed a second chief medical officer in Gautam Buddh Nagar, a hotspot of Coronavirus, within a fortnight, the health department said. A P Chaturvedi was shunted out late on Saturday and D K Ohri, the principal of Agra's Regional Family Planning Training Centre, was appointed the additional CMO, the department said in an order.

. A one-and-a-half-month-old baby has died of Coronavirus infection at a hospital in Delhi, officials said on Sunday, in perhaps the first fatality of an infant due to COVID-19 in the national capital. The baby died at Kalawati Saran Children's Hospital attached to the Centre-run Lady Hardinge Medical College.

. SpiceJet has decided to send employees earning more than '50,000 per month on leave without pay on a rotational basis, sources said on Sunday amid flight services remaining suspended till May 3. This arrangement would be in place for three months, they added. The sources also told PTI that the salary for April is likely to be paid to staff for the days they were on duty.

. As COVID-19 continues its depredation across India and the world, a major row has erupted in West Bengal, with many in the medical fraternity and Opposition parties claiming the state is reporting fewer cases as only a minuscule proportion of the population is getting tested for the inscrutable enemy.

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