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Nationwide Lockdown In India Causing Disruptions For Operations Of Amazon, Flipkart

Nationwide Lockdown In India Causing Disruptions For Operations Of Amazon, Flipkart
Just three days into the 21 day national lockdown in India to prevent the fast spread of the coronavirus, e-commerce companies operating in the country, including the leaders Amazon and Flipkart, are troubled by disruption in their business despite assurances from the government, according to reports. 
According to reports quoting sources with knowledge of the matter, the disruptions are because of differing state and district level regulations that have been imposed since the lockdown. For example, in some cases, curfew passes for the people delivering foods for the e-commerce companies have been difficult to get.
Guidelines as set by the union or the states government have not been followed uniformly by local authorities, said industry executives, as security forces have prevented delivery staff from moving around and company warehouses from operating. has been forced to shut down most of its more than 60 fulfilment centres in India while the company is currently talking with the authorities to ensure that it is able top swiftly reopen the warehouses, claimed reports.
"It's worse than one can think," one source was quoted in a report as saying.
According to reports, one of the major reasons for the disruptions to Amazon in India during the lockdown is that only a "miniscule" number of the company’s warehouses were operational currently. Reports also said that it will only be in the major cities that Amazon will be able to reopen and partially normalize its operations. 
There were no comments available from Amazon on the issue.
The disruption issues being faced by the e-commerce companies also highlight the problems for the governments to ensure a steady supply of essential foods to the 1.3 billion people of India during the nationwide lockdown. So far, there have been 724 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 17 deaths at the hands of the virus in India. 
A large number of Amazon users took to twitter seeking help from the e-commerce giant about issues they were facing with placing of orders for essential items. The company on its part responded by saying that local restrictions were preventing it from serving consumers.
"There are clear guidelines provided by Government to enable essential services, and so we are working with the relevant authorities to ensure we are able to operate," Amazon tweeted.
A meeting with the e-commerce industry representatives was held by India’s trade minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday. The government was "committed to ensuring that essential goods reach the people", the minister later said.
The nationwide shutdown has also impacted Walmart-owned Flipkart. While the level of disruption of its services were not immediately clear – there were reports that the company platform showed many items as being ‘out of stock’ in many cities of the country.
Local restrictions on movement of its delivery personnel was creating challenges for the company with last-mile delivery of goods once they leave its warehouse, said reports quoting sources with knowledge of the state of Flipkart’s operations.
"We are enhancing capacity to meet the increase in customer requirements," the company said, adding it had received support from local and federal authorities.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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