New Delhi: The Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) have joined hands to come up with an e-commerce platform for local retailers and grocery stores.
The announcement comes a day after Amazon announced its new programme 'Local Shops on Amazon' aimed at enabling local and small shops and retailers to sell their products online. Further, on Wednesday Reliance Industries made the announcement of the JioMart-WhatsApp partnership to enable transactions between 'kiranas' and consumers and support small businesses.
In a statement, the CAIT said that to solve the challenge of providing essential goods to the Indian citizens during the COVID-19 situation, DPIIT, which comes under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, along with the traders' body is synergising the efforts of various companies and startups working in the supply chain to help the local 'Kirana' stores take orders online and ensure last-mile contactless delivery through a national e-commerce marketplace to be launched shortly.
Apart from DPIIT and CAIT, the other promoters would be Startup India, Invest India, All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation, and Avana Capital, CAIT said.
"This vast purely Indian e-commerce portal will make all efforts to onboard about seven crore traders of the country. Manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers of all verticals of domestic trade and consumers will be an integral part of this e-commerce platform," said the CAIT statement.
The organisation said that the platform would be duly embedded with an efficient delivery ecosystem and digital payments.
CAIT also added that the e-commerce portal will eventually be enlarged to all items being traded under the domestic trade of India.
It noted that the national e-commerce marketplace has been perceived by both DPIIT and CAIT not restricted to the present lockdown period and coronavirus crisis but as a permanent e-commerce platform for digitising existing business of the entire trading community of India.
In this very direction, 'Startup India', the agency under DPIIT has invited applications from all companies who specialise in IT solutions and logistical support solutions amongst others with a broader reach or network across the country to come forward and strengthen this delivery mechanism. Considering the ongoing global crisis and the number of increasing casualties to the crisis we are seeking readily deployable solutions.
CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that the e-commerce national marketplace has already been conceived and designed and has played a crucial role in ensuring the supply of essential goods in different cities under the present COVID-19 crisis.
Khandelwal and CAIT have been critical of the e-commerce majors Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart for a long time largely on the "deep discounting" issue and have alleged the online behemoths made the trade uncompetitive for the offline traders.