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India launches e-commerce platform for village industry products

The government’s Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has unveiled an official e-Commerce site, eKhadiIndia. The website catalogues over 50,000 products under more than 500 varieties and various categories of locally-made Khadi and village industries products.  The portal is a step towards building an ecosystem that enables micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to help achieve the Prime Minister’s goal of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” or a self-reliant India.

KVIC Chairman, Vinai Kumar Saxena, during the launch function, explained that the site is a first-of-its-kind government online shopping platform to boost the rural economy. There has been a steady rise in the demand for Khadi and village industries products over the last few years, 2018-2019 alone witnessed a 25% surge. He added that the move is mainly intended to make natural Khadi India products easily accessible to new-generation consumers. The products range from apparel, grocery, cosmetics, home décor, health and wellness products, essentials, and gifts.

According to a press release, key components of the site include:

  • It exclusively focuses on khadi and village industry products.
  • Authentic khadi trademark products are available only through this portal.
  • The website is on par with any other modern technology-rich e-commerce portal.
  • The portal allows bulk orders and direct sellers registration.
  • It has customer care facilities and an all-refund policy.
  • More than 50,000 users can use the portal at the same time.
  • It is compatible with social media.
  • The portal is available for both website and mobile app versions.
  • Digitised payment ecosystem.
  • It has a pan-India reach-1.2 billion people from over 2,400 cities and towns.
  • It has a wide range of more than 1,500 products across various consumer verticals.

KVIC is one of the biggest sources of employment in the country and is bringing to life the government’s vision of Digital India through its various innovations. KVIC envisages emerging as a new-age digital marketplace for weavers, artisans, craftsmen, farmers, and the MSME entrepreneurs of India.

The government also offers indigenously-produced products on its government e-marketplace (GeM). The e-marketplace, which functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is used for the procurement of common-use goods and services by ministries, departments, and central public sector enterprises (CPSEs).

GeM offers end-to-end solutions for procurement needs. Apart from government departments, it also caters to autonomous institutions and local bodies. It leverages technology and is working to make procurement contactless, paperless, and cashless. It aims to promote transparent public procurement while providing fair opportunities and a level playing field to all vendors.

As per a news report, the marketplace has 1.76 million listed products, 900,000 sellers and service providers, and 11,543 product categories. In 2020, per month, the marketplace was able to add 40,212 new sellers on an average and 486 new product categories. It added over 100,000 sellers in November and witnessed the average daily order value increase by 282%.

Amid growth in the number of sellers and order base, the government had recently taken note of the possibilities of fake or inferior quality goods being sold online. The Commerce Minister cautioned sellers against selling such goods or charging high prices, he said that these sellers will be blacklisted not only from the GeM portal but from the “entire government ecosystem.”

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