The company is allowed to resume the delivery of essential products after state and federal governments offered assurances that its staff would not be bothered and that its supply chains would remain intact.
Flipkart halted all of its shipping on Wednesday (March 25) after the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi essentially shut down the country and ordered everyone to stay indoors for 21 days to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
It was not clear whether the order applied to eCommerce, so there was some confusion on the part of both the companies and authorities. Some delivery drivers were stopped by police officers attempting to enforce the order.
Flipkart’s Chief Executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy said the decision to resume service was only made after ensuring that the drivers would not face safety issues. “(We) are resuming our grocery and essentials services later today,” he said.
The Flipkart Group also owns Myntra, a fashion portal, and PhonePe, a digital payments company.
Amazon in India said it was going to limit services to just the delivery and sale of products deemed essential. Many consumers in cities around India found out that Amazon’s grocery service wasn’t available on Wednesday and that some items wouldn’t be delivered until next month.
Medlife, a healthcare company, also dealt with difficulties over the shutdown, including a delivery driver being charged by a baton as police tried to enforce social distancing measures in the city of New Delhi. Other delivery drivers have been barred from completing deliveries, according to Medlife CEO Ananth Narayanan.
“You have to enforce the lockdown with empathy; I don’t think you need to be brutal,” Narayanan said. “When somebody gets beaten up, it’s very difficult to get other people to come to work.”