As speculation is abuzz that the lockdown may be extended beyond May 3, the government is looking at tech-enabled solutions to meet the demand for essential goods and grocery. In partnership with the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), India’s department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) has launched a challenge to find a potential way to digitise the departmental retail stores and their supply chain.
Startup India is currently inviting startups and entrepreneurs to present their ideas for messaging platforms, logistics solutions, vernacular or regional language content solutions, digital payment gateways, inventory management systems, app development, contactless delivery, sanitisation of stores, hyperlocal delivery, among others.
According to CAIT, the aim of this challenge is to digitise around 7 Cr retailers, manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers. The initiative will bring them onboard an ecommerce marketplace, which will connect manufacturers directly to consumers. An efficient delivery ecosystem and digital payments options will also be explored in the proposals.
DPIIT said the aim of the challenge is to synergise efforts of startups working in the supply chain areas to help departmental stores, many of which have had to shut down, take orders through an online app or website, and ensure last-mile contactless delivery.
During the lockdown, the government has advised grocery stores and chemists to remain open. It has also encouraged retailers to facilitate the delivery of goods. However, consumers are still venturing out to retail stores due to a lack of substantial technology-led solutions in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
DPIIT’s project will also aim to address the shortage of essential products in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities as manufacturers and wholesalers will be able to supply their products to new geographies.
Other promoters of the initiative include Invest India, All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation and Avana Capital. The upcoming ecommerce portal will not only resolve the woes of lockdown but will help the trading community of India to move online permanently.
Ideas and proposals can be emailed to [email protected] They can also contact through a toll-free number 1800115565 from 10 AM to 5.30 PM. The ecommerce portal is soon expanded to open for all items.
CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said that the ecommerce national market place has already been conceived and designed. “Ecommerce marketplace will be for traders, by traders and run by traders and consumers,” he said.
Khandelwal also noted that the portal is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India initiative. Notably, CAIT, which has been raising concerns over ecommerce platforms not complying with FDI norms, had already completed a pilot in Madhya Pradesh to create individual e-stores for traders.