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How Doorstep Delivery Of Essentials Amidst COVID-19 Can Be Optimised: A Model

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

Almost all the 10 hotspots identified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare listed below are urban centers.


  • Nizammudin West
  • Dilshad Gardens


  • Bhilwara

Uttar Pradesh:

  • Noida
  • Meerut


  • Mumbai
  • Pune


  • Ahmedabad


  • Kasargod
  • Pathanamthitta

Take, for example, the steps and classification being followed in Mumbai, it being one of the worst affected states.

Containment Zones

Mumbai has identified more than 438 containment zones, these being classified further into Simple Containment Zones(with 1 case) and Cluster Containment Zones(with 3-5 cases) along with Buffer Zones around these containment zones.

Many areas in the city are strictly sealed down even for essential services and in such areas are being delivered by the government to ensure zero mobility and hence curb the infection.

So, basically it tries to strictly limit the mobilization in the place of infection and nearby. The lockdown has been enforced and extended till 3rd May 2020. However, the effectiveness of the same can be ensured by the following measures:

The change we suggest by our model is the introduction and improvement of doorstep services for essentials in the containment zone and other areas by classification as per the government and if already the movement of people going out for acquiring essentials has been restricted, then the model can be followed to increase the efficiency of the lockdown by optimizing door-step delivery of essentials.

Model for doorstep delivery of essentials :

1. Unified Centralized System For Allocation Of Resources

The scheme has to be well planned by the Government and an area has to be classified into various regions as to which region will fall under which supplier in each case. Now starting from a smaller area to a larger one the scheme unfolds as following:

Starting with the smallest unit i.e. a building, a society, chawl, slum etc. the Government will classify each of these individual units into a region under a supplier of essential commodities.

Example: 4 to 5 buildings may fall under the jurisdiction of one grocery store in that region.

This is the type of classification that the local government has to do for each and every individual unit. For these the government may have to analyze the potential of each supplier and allocate the jurisdiction over these units accordingly.

The individual units may place and order collectively or individually (Choice of the Unit members) to the Supplier allotted to them only.

2. Use Of Mapping Technology And Apps Or Web Portals For Such A Centralized System

Recently, Godrej Consumer goods Pvt.Ltd announced a partnership with Zomato, supply chain startup ShopKirana and car rental company Zoomcar for delivery of essential goods during lockdown. For the same purpose, Shop Kirana having acquired the license from Madhya Pradesh government, has set up an app named ‘Zaroori’ to facilitate this door-step delivery of essentials. The retailers can place an online order through this and the Godrej Company will directly supply the goods to them via Zoom Cars. Thus, not being totally dependent on the traditional transport,  Zoom cars are being used to keep the supply chain running.

Similarly, our model suggests the following :

  • Centralized Database

An app or a web portal similar to Arogya Setu based on mapping technology can be initiated by the Government on a central level. Accordingly, registration of both consumers and suppliers can be done via this app or web portal. Besides this, there can be a provision to register by phone calls for those who don’t have access to internet connectivity. Thus, a single database which works on a mapping system will map the suppliers and consumers of an area. Further, this system will include the placing of orders to the supplier allotted to your unit and online payment as well as the provision of ordering directly via phone and payment on delivery.

  • Registration of supplier

While registering suppliers, they can go through series of procedures through which their supply potential can be analyzed and thus their jurisdiction over the units can be fixed accordingly. Besides this, their need for delivery systems (delivery workforce + vehicles) will also be thus analyzed and with the help of a partnership with private entities as discussed below, the suppliers deficient of such delivery systems like the smaller shops and vendors can be allotted delivery systems. After analyzing, allocation of jurisdiction over the units and registration of such supplier, an id-card can be issued to him.

  • Making it compulsory

To make it more efficient, it can be made compulsory for all so that the real potential of each and every supplier can be analyzed and thus the resources can be allocated efficiently to the masses at the optimal level, even profiting the supplier.

  • Other rules

Other rules as to days of delivery to a unit, etc. can be fixed by each supplier according to his convenience but the same should be in consonance with the ground rules laid down by the government.

3. Uniform Rate System (to be set up on rules after complete analysis)

  1. All suppliers to follow a uniform rate system to be uploaded and updated by the Government on a day to day basis with certain alterations as granted by the government.
  2. The extra delivery charges to be paid are also to be fixed by the government.

4. Involvement Of Private Entities To Help Increase Efficiency Of Doorstep Delivery

While classifying and consulting the supplier, it will be evident if he has the requisite means to deliver or not as smaller suppliers and stores won’t have. Securing Delivery vehicles and staff for the same can be done with help of and collaboration with private entities like Zomato, Swiggy, etc.

With the recent decline in orders seen by food delivering companies like Zomato and Swiggy, these private entities have now stepped up towards helping the citizens by delivering them essential commodities and OTC Medicines. These Private entities saw a decline of 20% in the initial weeks of March, which has now reached to 70% causing financial loss, due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Swiggy has now expanded the essential commodity service to over 125+ cities and has partnered with various brands like HUL, P&G, Godrej, Dabur, Marico, Cipla, Vishal Mega Mart, Adani Wilmers, and many more to distribute the essential Items through their distribution centres. On the Other hand Zomato is currently serving in 80 cities for the same.

Swiggy also came up with a courier service which is currently active in 15 cities, where they promise to deliver anything. While all this is happening, all risks and safety concerns are being taken care of by their own respective companies. Currently Swiggy is charging ₹40 as the base fee for the deliveries ranging upto 2km, with additional ₹15 for every kilometre after it exceeds the 2KM base quota. Same amount of delivery charges can be expected from other brands too.

Along with these two major delivering entities, there also other similar start-ups that may help delivering essentials under the Centralized Government Scheme, if they are willing to enter into negotiations with the government for the same.

The contention here is that with the limited amount of customer base that these companies have presently, their partnership under this Centralized Government scheme of doorstep delivery of essentials can be of benefit to these private ventures which are currently running in losses. With a larger consumer base and a uniform delivery rate settled upon by negotiations with the government, it can lead to an increase in efficiency of the Centralized Government scheme as well as may profit the private entities as well.

5. Receiving Doorstep Delivery Of Essentials

  • No-contact delivery/Minimum-contact delivery

So, this basically focuses on the use of Online modes of ordering and making Payments.

Where online mode isn’t available, placing order over phones will be followed as usual and payment can be done collectively by the inner workforce on delivery as explained below.

  • Inner workforce to deliver to individual house-holds

Each unit should prepare an internal workforce of a limited number of people who would do the following jobs:

  1. They will take the delivery from the supplier at the gate of each unit and then deliver them accordingly to individual households.
  2. In case of an offline mode of payment, they will collect the money from individual households and any one of them will hand it over to the delivery person of the supplier.

Thus, in the whole process basically a no-contact or minimum contact door-step delivery of essentials is being achieved.

6. Delivery System To Be Based On Hotspot Classification

  1. Hotspots will have an inner delivery system and inner delivery force.
  2. External delivery systems will deliver at the gate of hotspots, no contact ..
  3. Inner delivery systems will deliver to the door of each household.

7.  Slums

  1. Slums are quite compact and are highly vulnerable to infection.
  2. Same procedure will be followed in slums as above.
  3. They can have gates. The essentials will be dumped at these gates. Inner workforce can deliver to the doorsteps of each and every house.

Why A Strong Centralized Government Initiative is Necessary

Basically, to make a uniform system for allocation of resources and to make a door-step delivery more efficient to restrict the movement of the masses and consequentially containing the infection, a centralized system through which such supply chain can be carried on becomes necessary.

  1. Firstly, because there will be a huge involvement of masses if it’s a centralized Government scheme.
  2. The potential of resources of a region can be analyzed and accordingly the resources can be efficiently allocated.
  3. It will also benefit the private sector as well as will aid the government in making this system more efficient.

Answering The Privacy Issue

1. Firstly, it is advised that the orders of a unit be placed collectively.

Example: The chairman of a society, or one delegated person of a chawl or slum, etc can be the corresponding person and can place the order with the supplier. In such a case, the unit is being registered under the app or web portal, whichever is the central database and the details of each and every household are not being revealed to the suppliers of essentials.

2. Secondly, the app system is basically based on mapping technology to allot the nearest supplier to each unit, so that resources are allocated efficiently.

3. There can be minimum sharing of information and only one representative from each unit can collectively place the order. It’s a time of cooperation and we need to show the same.

Answering concerns related to the spread of infection via delivery persons

  1. Firstly, as per the rules laid down, each supplier will have to follow the strict packaging rules for delivery along with following measures of no-contact delivery.
  2. As we have said that the delivery will be done only till the gates of the individual units and not till individual households.
  3. The packaging can be sanitized at the gates and then the inner workforce will deliver to individual households thereafter.
  4. Another contention is that as the supplier as well as the delivery persons allotted to that supplier (if he doesn’t have the workforce) are local people and hence the cause of infection maybe local.
  5. In today’s time, it is going to be tough to avoid the infection if you are going out for essentials or even if you get it at home, because basically it’s some material thing that has to come from the exposed outside.
  6. But in this system, contact tracing can become more efficient as you know that which building exactly is the supplier supplying and in one go these all can be quarantined if in case any such infection is transferred.
  7. However, if the proper packaging and steps for sanitizing and proper delivery are followed, the chances of spread may be less.


  1. Manav Bhatt
  2. Kedar Nayak

Created by Manav Bhatt

Whether This Model Is Feasible And Will Help Improve The Efficiency Of The Door-Step Delivery Of Essentials System Amidst The COVID-19 Lockdown If Implemented?

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