Coronavirus Lockdown: Swiggy, Zomato start home delivery of alcohol in Ranchi; to add other cities over next couple of days

Swiggy, on-demand delivery platform backed by China’s Tencent has enabled online processing and home delivery of alcohol through the ‘Wine Shops’ category on the Swiggy app.

The service went live in Ranchi on Thursday after obtaining necessary approvals from the Jharkhand government, with other major cities in the state launching within a week, Swiggy said.

After Swiggy, Zomato also started home delivery of alcohol in Jharkhand.

"With due permissions and licences in place, starting home delivery of alcohol in Jharkhand. We will go live in Ranchi later today and seven other cities in Jharkhand over next couple of days," Zomato said, according to the CNBC-TV18.

Sale of spirits

Alcohol stores, closed nationwide on 25 March, were allowed to re-open in the first week of May, generating queues of hundreds of people outside some outlets in some cities and leading to baton charges by police to enforce social distancing protocols.

On 1 May, the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued guidelines allowing sale of spirits subject to restrictions including social distancing.

Several states allowed reopening of liquor shops with the easing of some lockdown restrictions from 4 May. However, many places saw heavy rush and flouting of social distancing norms, forcing authorities to close the outlets.

Some states also imposed additional taxes of up to 75 percent to control demand as well as shore up their depleted revenues.

Swiggy customers need to verify age

Swiggy, the Bengaluru-based unicorn, is also in advanced stages of discussions with multiple state governments to provide support with online processing and home delivery of alcohol which the company can immediately enable by leveraging its existing technology and logistics infrastructure and nationwide presence.

Customers can complete their instant age verification by uploading a picture of their valid government ID, followed by a selfie which the platform will use for authentication using an AI-powered system, Swiggy said.

All orders will carry a unique OTP which needs to be provided by the customer at the time of delivery, it said.

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There is also a capping on the order quantity to ensure a customer does not order alcohol above the prescribed limit as per the state law. To avail this service, customers in Ranchi can access the ‘Wine Shops’ category by updating their Swiggy app.

Speaking about the introduction of the category, Anuj Rathi, VP - Products, Swiggy said, “By enabling home delivery of alcohol in a safe and responsible manner, we can generate additional business for retail outlets while solving the problem of overcrowding, thereby promoting social distancing.”

Swiggy is partnering with authorised retailers after validating their license and other required documents as outlined by the respective state governments. Delivery partners and retailers have been virtually trained to facilitate smooth processing and fulfilment of orders, the delivery platform said in a statement.

According to associations, the liquor industry contributes around Rs 2.5 lakh crore revenue to the state governments. States have lost revenue of around Rs 25,000 crore in the 40-odd days when liquor trade was closed.

Restaurants and hotels have been sitting on a liquor stockpile of around Rs 3,000 crore since the coronavirus lockdown.

Updated Date: May 21, 2020 17:01:24 IST



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