Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal

The government's decision to allow e-commerce players to deliver only essential goods will help in creating a level playing field for small retailers, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Sunday.

The government on Sunday prohibited e-commerce platforms from selling non-essential items during the lockdown, four days after allowing the companies to sell mobile phones, refrigerators and ready-made garments.

The clarification that e-commerce companies can only supply essential goods during the lockdown "will create a level playing field for small retailers," Goyal said in a tweet.

Domestic traders body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had urged the government to allow online retailers to deal only in essential commodities.

The April 15 order had said e-commerce platforms will be allowed to sell electronic goods and other items from April 20.

The reason for reversing the order could not be immediately ascertained. However, some retail traders were believed to have put pressure on the government to allow local shops to sell non-essentials items as well, like the e-commerce giants.

E-commerce platforms have been allowed to sell essential commodities such as food, pharmaceutical and medical devices during the lockdown.

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