E-commerce operations received a shot in the arm as companies such as Flipkart, BigBasket, Grofers said they were able to carry out deliveries of essentials goods like groceries on March 27.
Police authorities in cities like Bengaluru and Delhi had expedited the process to provide e-passes to delivery executives. E-commerce companies had raised concerns over their staff collecting physical curfew passes from district authorities during a meeting with the commerce minister.
The Bengaluru police is working with MyGate -- an app that offers security management for gated communities and record entries of visitors -- to issue e-passes to staff of e-commerce companies. MyGate is already integrated with companies such as Zomato and Swiggy to facilitate easy access to delivery executives.
The Bengaluru police is likely to start issuing these e-passes as early as Saturday, sources said.
The Delhi government is working to issue e-passes and has launched a website for companies to procure them.
This comes a day after Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal held a video-conference with heads of e-commerce companies including Flipkart, Amazon India, Zomato, Snapdeal, BigBasket and logistics players such as Delhivery.
Zomato, Swiggy and other food delivery players however, continued to face bans in several states such as Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh despite the Home Ministry clarifying on Thursday that such services should be permitted.
But all was not gloomy as e-tailers managed to gradually resume deliveries.
"At Bigbasket, delivering 15,000 orders today - almost back on feet. Now to make slots available, supply chain done. Special call out to Govt & Police who helped. Looking to replicate soon on 26 other cities," K Ganesh, promoter of the e-grocery platform, said on Twitter.
The company tweeted that it was operational across all cities where it has a presence except Kochi.
Grofers also said it was working to deliver orders quickly.
"Currently, 90% of our warehouses are operational and we have deployed 50% of our delivery partners with all relevant permissions to carry out smooth and quick operations. We are also grateful for the support we have been receiving from local authorities and police administration and will soon have passes and other permissions for the rest of our delivery partners," Rohit Sharma, Head of Supply Chain, Grofers, said in a statement .
Flipkart issued a statement saying: “As we have resumed Grocery operations, our fulfilment centers servicing these needs are operational. There has been a significant spike in demand and we are building capacity to meet the increase in customer requirements. We’re encouraged by great support from local government, local police authorities and central government to streamline oir operations. "
One of the biggest hurdles e-commerce companies faced despite support from authorities was to procure supplies and get executives to work. Several delivery staff have returned to their hometowns and many were wary about making deliveries given the police action against some executives in various parts of the country.
"We are working towards building strengthening delivery teams further & supply chain executives’ morale and are hopeful that more executives will resume work soon in this national fight against COVID19. This includes providing them medical & life insurance, pay & benefits in case they are quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19 as well as special incentives," Flipkart said.
E-commerce companies faced massive disruptions over the last few days and many had temporarily suspended services. Flipkart and Amazon are now only going to deliver essential products and BIgBasket, Grofers, MilkBasket, 1MG also said they were resuming services across several cities starting Thursday.
Many companies have existing orders that have been delayed, with backlogs running into lakhs of orders.