January 28, 2021

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India plans to digitalise tribal commerce

TRIFED, an organisation under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, plans to boost e-commerce by connecting its village-based tribal producers to national and international markets through ICT.

TRIFED works to improve the socio-economic development of tribal regions in the country. It promotes tribal commerce for almost five million forest-dwelling tribal families. Residents make and sell minor forest produces, handlooms, and handicrafts.

The TRIFED Managing Director stated that e-commerce is the future of retail trade and millions of people across the country have adopted online shopping. TRIFED must strategically respond to the emerging situation.

According to a government press release, the digital transformation strategy includes the TRIFED website, which offers all the information related to its initiatives for tribal welfare.

The site is a platform to connect and collaborate in the mission to empower tribal communities across the country through a two-way communication and information exchange medium, linked via a GIS platform.

Tribes India, the business arm of TRIFED, has launched an e-commerce portal that offers a large range of tribal products online.

These products range from creative pieces and artefacts such as Dokra metal craft pieces, pottery, different types of paintings to apparel, jewellery, and organic, natural foods and beverages.

TRIFED has also partnered with other giant e-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart to provide market access to its tribal artisans.

Tribes India products are also now available on the government e-marketplace, GeM; government departments, ministries, and public sector undertakings (PSUs) can access products through it.

The Tribes India e-marketplace initiative, following the Retail Inventory Management System that automates the sourcing and sale of stocks, will onboard almost 500,000 tribal artisans, giving them access to local and global markets.

TRIFED’s VanDhan integrated information network is an online database of tribal residents engaged in minimum support price operations.

The network links them to village markets and warehouses. This helps monitor the country-wide programme and decision-making for smooth implementation.

The scheme has been deployed in 22 states. The tribal clusters identified and mapped across the country are eligible beneficiaries under the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan scheme.

The aim is for government ministries and agencies to collaborate to help vulnerable and distressed communities.

In an automation drive for its internal MIS, TRIFED has also made significant progress in the past year by adopting the Legal Information Management Business System (LIMBS) from the Ministry of Law and Justice, a centralised finance system, and the Human Resource Management System through the Department of Personnel and Training.

TRIFED’s objectives are to promote sustainable livelihood systems for tribal people by marketing development for their products, provide minimum support price and value addition of non-timber forest produce, empower them through capacity building, augment their resources substantially, and foster marketing partnerships with government agencies and other development partners.

TRIFED sponsors research and development projects through institutes of information technology (IITs) and universities to explore new, innovative products and processes.

Over the last few years, TRIFED has sponsored several research and development projects, which are under various stages of completion and commercialisation.

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