Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: 7 crore small traders are now taking the e-commerce fight to the incumbent players including Amazon, Flipkart and others. Traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Friday, announcing the name of its e-commerce marketplace — bharatemarket.in, said it will be launched in a month’s time. CAIT has tie-up with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) to plug millions of mom-and-pop or kirana shops in the country to digital commerce. The announcement was made over a video briefing by CAIT’s secretary general Praveen Khandelwal along with other members and technology providers. Through this “of the traders, by the traders, for the consumers” portal, the local shops will be able to access customer orders on the marketplace and deliver them in two hours, he told reporters. The portal has been promoted by PM Modi’s Startup India and Invest India initiatives along with All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation and small business lender Avana Capital.
“We have never protested against e-commerce in India but against the companies indulging in malpractices and vitiating the ecosystem. We are trying to clear all that with this marketplace,” said Khandelwal. “Indian e-commerce is a very vast market. If any entity follows the government guidelines in letter and spirit, we don’t have problems with anyone. There shouldn’t be predatory pricing, deep discounting, preferential seller treatment and it must empower small sellers,” he added in response to JioMart’s launch on WhatsApp following Reliance-Facebook deal and agreement between Jio Platforms and WhatsApp.
Bharatemarket.in, which has already onboarded 6,300 sellers, will levy no transaction fee or commission on sellers along with zero delivery charges for customers. The marketplace will be operated and managed solely by CAIT and will integrate all stakeholders right from manufacturers to “distributors, retailers to make last-mile deliveries to customers.” The portal will later expand to goods beyond grocery and essential items.
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CAIT has onboarded business networking platform for SMEs – GlobalLinker for providing the core technology support while All India Transporters Welfare Association will offer the logistics support to traders. “We are onboarding 15-20 such technology providers in a month’s time. The platform will be based on geotagging,” said Khandelwal.
“The portal will support all type of payments. We have called it a phygital model to combine the best of the online and offline worlds. The portal will promise genuine goods and support to resolve customer queries,” said Sameer Vakil, CEO and Co-founder GlobalLinker. Interestingly, the sellers will own shares of the portal depending on the assurance of current stock and genuine products, he added.
For months, CAIT has been protesting against Amazon and Flipkart alleging unfair and unethical business practices by indulging in deep discounting, preferential treatment to select sellers, violating FDI policy by through predatory pricing and more. CAIT had also filed a petition in the Competition Commission of India in 2018 against the Walmart-Flipkart deal believing it to create an uneven playing field for offline sellers. After CCI’s approval to the deal, CAIT had filed a petition in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) but was dismissed here too.