Govt’s Alibaba-like e-commerce portal for MSMEs to make small businesses as attractive as startups

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Published: September 11, 2019 6:21:23 PM

MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari had said that the government is planning to launch the e-commerce portal Bharat Craft on the lines of Alibaba and is expected to get to the turnover of Rs 10 lakh crore in the coming few years.

Nitin Gadkari had recently said that the new portal will be integrated with the Commerce Ministry’s Government e-Marketplace portal.

The new e-commerce portal —  Bharat Craft — for MSMEs on the lines of China’s e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, announced by MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari last month has the potential to make MSMEs as attractive and scale as rapidly as startups have in India as it will multiply MSMEs reach and network and help them acquire more customers and revenue, according to Vishwanath, Chairman, MSMEs Committee, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. During the listing of the 200th MSME on the National Stock Exchange (Emerge), Nitin Gadkari had said that the government is planning to launch the e-commerce portal Bharat Craft on the lines of Alibaba and is expected to get to the turnover of Rs 10 lakh crore in the coming few years.

“Having a portal like Bharat Craft will take MSMEs’ growth to the level where startups have grown. This will basically boost exports that will further lead to more production of goods among MSMEs to sell them and thereby creating more employment, said Vishwanath. However, this will take some time for MSME exporters to understand the significance and utilisation of this facility, he added.

Nitin Gadkari had recently said that the new portal will be integrated with the Commerce Ministry’s Government e-Marketplace portal to leverage synergies between the two portals even and benefit MSMEs. “Integration will be good because this will stop duplication of goods, boost efficiency in online selling and reduce the cost for businesses,” said Vishwanath.

Also read: Govt names its e-commerce portal Bharat Craft; plans to do what Alibaba did in China to benefit MSMEs

The minister had recently announced at an event of generating 50 lakh jobs in the Khadi sector and focusing on developing 115 socio-economic backward regions identified by Prime Minister Modi on behalf of Khadi Gramudyog. “To achieve this, we need to create new channels for funding, make the sector investor-friendly, bring in technological innovations, and reduce logistics cost to make our products competitive, provide adequate skilling and market support,” according to Nitin Gadkari. 

The minister also called for diversification in the MSME sector to areas such as bamboo, honey production, fisheries, bio-fuel production, Agarbatti making, dairy, etc., for new businesses to tap opportunities in these areas. Last month, Gadkari had called for making the use of Kulhad mandatory at 100 railway stations along with airports, bus depots etc., to promote its use at tea stalls.

“Government has the ability to launch the portal in partnerships with industry associations but MSMEs will have to change their behaviour towards adopting digital technology and being aware of it in order to tackle industry 4.0 challenges. They need to have technology advancement so that they can face all challenges in growing online,” Dr Sanjiv Layek, Executive Secretary, World Association For Small And Medium Enterprises (WASME) told Financial Express Online.

Among the major concerns, said Layek, that WASME has voiced to the government for MSMEs is the lack of finance from banks as they deny credit to businesses “whether it is under Mudra Loan scheme or 59-minute scheme. MSMEs are very capable in tapping on to opportunities mentioned by the minister but they need to have hand-holding and support with capital,” said Layek.

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