New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: Days after laying off 1,100 employees and shutting down its cloud kitchens to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 crisis, the online food delivery app Swiggy has started the home delivery of liquor in Jharkhand from Thursday onwards.

The app will now have a 'Wine Shops' category in its interface with which it will go live in major cities in the state of Jharkhand within a week.

Swiggy has stated that it has taken all the necessary approvals from the Jharkhand government to initiate the service of the home delivery of liquor.

"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," Anuj Rathi, Swiggy's Vice President for Products was quoted as saying by the news agency IANS.

The service, after its first launch in Ranchi, will be followed up in Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Hazaribagh, Deoghr, Dhanbad, Ramgarh, Giridih and Palamu cities of Jharkhand, indicated Excise and Prohibition Secretary of Jharkhand Vinay Kumar Chaoubey as reported by The New Indian Express.

Customers will need to initiate an instant age verification by uploading a picture of their valid government identification means, followed by a selfie which Swiggy will use for authentication using an artificial intelligence-powered system, the Bengaluru-based food delivery app said in a statement.

The quantity of the orders will be capped as well to ensure that a customer does not exceed the authorised alcohol-purchase limit as per the law of the state.

Swiggy has said that it is partnering with authorised retailers after validating their license and other required documents as outlined by the respective state governments across the country.

Earlier in the month, Reuters had reported about another major food aggregator Zomato's plans to branch out into delivering alcohol. Sustained lobbying efforts were going on through the International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI), to ensure the initiation of home delivery of the liquor through Food aggregators.

Zomato, however, has not released any press statement on the development. Though reports have suggested, that just like Swiggy, Zomato too will get on with the liquor delivery model.

The executive chairman of ISWAI had stated earlier 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," Singh was quoted as saying.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma