Bringing together the Make in India and Skill India flagship programmes together, the government wants to empower rural artisans by providing them with ecommerce platforms to sell their products to the global audience. The step has been taken to develop skills and entrepreneurial training across the rural domain.
B2C model can prove to be beneficial for small and medium businesses in the rural sector, by enabling them to utilise the ecommerce supply and distribution chain and cater to a much wider consumer base, both domestically and internationally.
The agricultural growth ministry has drawn up a list of 200 products and items that can be sold across ecommerce platforms, including the government e-marketplace (GeM). The government has partnered with Tata Trusts to provide skilling and entrepreneurial training to artisans.
The programme to promote rural artisans is part of the government’s so-called 100-day plan in the second term. The rural products can range from stationery to gift items and rural artisans would be legally qualified to sell such goods online.
The government is also looking at providing technical assistance in terms of designing and packaging so that such local goods appeal to a global audience. The plans include bringing professional photographers and content writers on board to help promote the merchandise in a more attractive manner.
At the moment, artists and artisans sell their products directly through retail and etail network, or through traders in central and state exhibitions organised by the government. The ecommerce platform opens up a wider market, even within India which would be greatly beneficial for the artisans.
Some handicraft and handloom products, such as Madhubani paintings from Bihar, tribal painting from Jharkhand, terracotta items from Rajasthan and Tussar silk wear from Bhagalpur, made by rural artisans are already being sold on ecommerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart. But these sellers often have no choice but to agree to discounting policies in the terms and conditions that may not always suit their models and products. However, a government ecommerce platform is likely to make seller profit a bigger priority than discounts.