Two months after India relaxed its Covid-19 related lockdown restrictions, Amazon India is facing a sharp surge in online shopping. This has necessitated the additional hiring of 50,000 temporary workers in their fulfilment centres and for delivery. 

In a blog post, Amazon’s senior executive Akhil Saxena says that the company wants to continue helping customers across India get everything they need so that they continue to practice social distancing. Indian eCommerce companies faced major disruptions in the early days as India locked itself down from March 25 to curb the spread of Covid-19. 

The temporary hires would function out of Amazon India’s fulfilment centres as part of their delivery network, the company said while reiterating its commitment to India’s workforce, which in recent times have faced job cuts due to the pandemic-related lockdown that largely kept people indoors. 

The move of hiring temporary workers during such a time would also help keeping as many as possible working during tis pandemic while providing a safe work environment for them, Saxena, who is the company’s vice president for customer fulfilment operations in APAC, MENA and Latin America said. 

The temporary hires will work in Amazon’s fulfilment centres and as part of its delivery network, the company said, making the announcement at a time when various other companies in the country have been forced to cut jobs as they try to tide over the health crisis.

On Thursday, Amazon India had also announced the launch of its food delivery operations in select parts of Bengaluru in what is perceived as a direct competition to the likes of Zomato and Swiggy. The announcement came at a time when the food delivery business was seeing large scale layoffs including 1600 employees by Zomato.

A spokesperson for Amazon India said the decision was based on customer feedback seeking delivery of prepared meals on Amazon in addition to shopping for all other essentials. “This is particularly relevant in the present times as they stay home safe. We also recognise that local businesses need all the help they can get, the spokesperson said. 

The service would be initially available in the four localities of Mahadevapura, Marathalli, Whitefield and Bellandur covering 100 restaurants that include franchises such as Chai Point, Chaayos, Faasos, Mad Over Donuts and Box8. Orders in these postal codes can be placed through the Amazon app and will only be visible to customers in these areas. 

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