The government should recognise ecommerce retail exports as an industry and work towards removing regulatory barriers, a study has suggested. The paper titled ‘Exploring Potential of E-Commerce for Retail Exports of Indian MSMEs in Manufacturing Sector’ has been prepared by Ficci and Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. The study calls for removing regulatory barriers, reviewing the foreign trade policies and simplifying customs duty procedures. According to the study, the total potential for B2C e- commerce exports is estimated at approximately USD 26 billion, of which USD 3 billion can be achieved in the next three years from 16 product categories.
However, the potential of e-commerce exports can only be realised through modifications in the current Merchandise Exports from Inia Scheme (MEIS) policy under FTP 2015-20, the study noted. “There is a need to reduce the distance between the producer and consumer and e-commerce could help in bridging this gap. Besides, it would also reduce the cost of products,” said S N Tripathi, Additional Secretary & Development Commissioner, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
The study, supported by eBay India, comprises an in-depth survey on the major MSME clusters across the country. The survey brings forth limitations pertaining to ICT infrastructure; e-payment and logistics across MSME sectors. It also highlights reasons like bandwidth and network restrictions, lack of availability of skilled workforce, privacy and security concerns and inaccessibility to finance amongst other reasons that are collectively dissuading Indian MSMEs from adopting modern retail practices.