Online food delivery platforms Swiggy and Zomato have reportedly been given the green light to commence home delivery of liquor to consumers in the state of Jharkhand. The Jharkhand state government gave the go-ahead to the two companies with the service currently rolling out for consumers in Ranchi. The service is expected to soon reach other cities of Jharkhand in the coming week. The development comes amidst the ongoing coronavirus lockdown across the nation
According to a press statement by Swiggy, the app will now have a new ‘Wine Shops’ section in the app. The service has begun in Ranchi with other cities to be added within the week. With the introduction of the new service, Swiggy will be introducing mandatory age verification and user authentication to complete the delivery. There will also be a cap on the amount of liquor one can order based on the state laws. Swiggy has also confirmed that it is in the final stages of discussions with various other state governments which means that the service could soon expand to other major cities across the country. Zomato is yet to release a press statement on the development.
“We have adopted hybrid system for making liquor available in some of the big cities like Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Hazaribagh, Deoghr, Dhanbad, Ramgarh, Giridih and Palamu by opening the retail liquor shops where people can go and purchase liquor taking care of the social distancing. Secondly, people can get home delivery of liquor at their doorsteps through the two food aggregators – Zomato and Swiggy by downloading the app on their mobile phones,” said Excise and Prohibition Secretary Vinay Kumar Chaoubey.
With the relaxation of nationwide lockdown in the past couple of weeks, social distancing continues to be a huge challenge. The central government had allowed the sale of liquor across the country, and while states have limited the number of shops allowed to operate, long queues of customers were witnessed in all major cities around the country.
Earlier this month, there was a report that Zomato is in the process of getting permission to deliver liquor to customers right at their doorsteps. Zomato and Swiggy have already diversified into grocery deliveries as the restrictions on movement shuttered some restaurants and people hesitated to order outside food due to fears of catching the disease.
This is a big change for the liquor industry as this is the first time alcohol home delivery is being officially allowed in any part of India. This could also lead to a change in the laws pertaining to liquor consumption across the country and probably a centralized delivery system. International Spirits and Wines Association of India executive chairman Amrit Kiran Singh had earlier said that states should allow alcohol deliveries to help boost state revenues hit by the lockdown. “The challenge is to ensure revenue from alcohol continues to be available.”