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DPIIT looks at expanding list of essential items allowed for delivery, asks e-commerce firms to give suggestions

The government is considering allowing home delivery of items such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, routers and other items required to support work-from-home functioning. Repairing services through e-commerce may be allowed too

As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise in the country, the government has extended the lockdown to May 3. However, it does understand that there's an urgent need to give relaxations when it comes to home delivery of essential items that are required to support work-from-home functioning.

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In a move that could ease the pain of millions working from home, the Department for Promotion of Investment and Internal Trade (DPIIT) on Sunday asked e-commerce companies to draw a limited list of items they would want to supply to support work from home.

The companies are likely to submit the list by Wednesday, which will then be forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

There is an urgent need to relax the list of affected services and industries in order to revive and increase economic activity and reduce the impact on day-to-day living.

The relaxation, however, may come with a stringent compliance process.

The Centre is considering dividing the country India into three zones — red, orange and green. Based on these zones, economic activities are likely to be resumed.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Home Affairs had clarified that the ban on delivery of non-essential by e-commerce platforms would remain in force till May 3. Earlier, it was thought e-commerce companies would be given some relaxations in phase two of the lockdown.

Several leading platforms, including Flipkart and Paytm Mall, were reportedly planning to resume delivery of all items after April 20.

The MHA order to restrict delivery attracted criticism as several industry leaders claimed electronic items and repair services were essential for people working from home.

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