Press Trust of india

MHA withdraws decision on e-commerce

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New Delhi:  Underlining that the lockdown situation was “extremely dynamic”, the Home Ministry on Sunday said the decision to allow non-essential goods through e-commerce was withdrawn after it was felt that the list of goods was extensive and may impact the curbs imposed to fight COVID-19.

Addressing a press conference, MHA Joint Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava said the situation was “extremely dynamic” and decisions are being reviewed “almost on a daily basis”.

“As you realise, some restrictions are necessary in our campaign against coronavirus. When the list of non-essential goods and overall situation was reviewed, it was felt that the list was pretty extensive. If we permit all goods, it may impact lockdown. Accordingly, the decision was reviewed,” she said.

When asked about the measures for stranded students and labourers incase the lockdown is extended beyond May 3, she said the ministry will issue appropriate guidelines at the right time.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued an order excluding the non-essential items from sale by the e-commerce companies from the consolidated revised guidelines, which listed the exemption given to the services and people from the purview of the lockdown.

The order said the clause — “E-commerce companies. Vehicles used by e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions” — is excluded from the guidelines.

The previous order had said such items were allowed for sale through e-commerce platforms from April 20.

She said Home Minister Amit Shah reviewed the situation with the officer where he stated that extra care must be taken in areas not coming under clusters, hotspots and containment zones where some activities will be allowed.

It must be ensured that any relief should be given only after correct assessment of the ground situation, he said.

District magistrates should ensure patrolling in rural areas with the help of police, panchayat, and revenue officials to ensure strict implementation of national directives, like maintaining social distancing and wearing masks among others, issued by the Union Home Ministry in its recent order on lockdown.

After economic activities have been permitted in rural areas, district magistrates should coordinate with industries to transfer labourers to their workplace within the state in order to boost economic activity and rural employment, Srivastava said citing directives given by the MHA.

Special emphasis must be paid to parameters such as quality of food served in camps for migrant labourers, she said.

Medical teams going for community testing of coronavirus must be given adequate security and community leaders and peace committees must be roped in by police before taking the exercise, she said.

According to the Union Health Ministry, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 507 and the number of cases to 15,712 in the country on Sunday.

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