Online food delivery platforms, Swiggy and Zomato, on Thursday said they have received permissions to start alcohol home delivery service in Jharkhand.
When liquor shops were reopened in Jharkhand on Wednesday for the first time after the lockdown was imposed in the state, tipplers were seen queuing outside these shops, despite an additional 25 per cent Value Added Tax imposed on liquor by the state government.
But the residents of Ranchi can now order home delivery of alcohol through the 'Wine Shops' category by updating their Swiggy app, the company said, adding that the service will go live in other major cities in the state within a week.
A Zomato spokesperson said that its alcohol home delivery service will go live in Ranchi on Thursday and seven other cities in Jharkhand over the next couple of days.
"With due permissions and licences in place, we are starting home delivery of alcohol in Jharkhand. We believe that a technology-enabled home delivery based solution can enable responsible consumption of alcohol as well as provide an option that's safer and promotes social distancing," the Zomato spokesperson said.
Swiggy also said it has obtained necessary approvals from the Jharkhand government for the service, even as the company revealed it is also in advanced stages of discussions with multiple state governments for providing similar service.
"Since the beginning of the pandemic, Swiggy has relentlessly worked to solve customer pain points and support local governments in every way possible," Anuj Rathi, Swiggy's Vice President for Products said in a statement.
"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."
To ensure safe delivery of alcohol and in compliance with applicable laws, Swiggy has introduced measures such as mandatory age verification and user authentication to complete deliveries.
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 Artificial Intelligence-powered system, Swiggy said.
All orders will carry a unique one-time-password (OTP) which needs to be provided by the customer at the time of delivery.
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.
Swiggy said it is partnering with authorised retailers after validating their license and other required documents as outlined by the respective state governments.