Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister has announced the government’s plan to launch an e-commerce portal named Bharat Craft, at the 6th India International MSME Expo this Friday, on lines of what Alibaba did to China. It will provide a platform for MSMEs to market and sell their products which in turn will boost the sector, Gadkari said.
At present, The India eCommerce market is completely dominated by US-based Amazon.com. It is, however, estimated that homegrown eCommerce player Flipkart might surpass it soon. Besides there two leading players Bharatcraft will also be competing with Mukesh Ambani’s e-commerce venture. In the end, factors like the quality of goods and services, as well as, the versatility of the portal’s catalogue will come in to play in determining its success.
Bharat Craft will be modelled after the exceptionally well-known Chinese e-commerce portal Alibaba. Gadkari further added that the project has the potential to bear around Rs 10 lakh crore revenue in the next 2-3 years. It is hoped that the initiative contributes to the Modi Government’s five trillion economy aim for India.
Presently, MSME contributes 29% of India’s GDP and about 50% of country exports GDP and can generate employment opportunities for five crores in the next five years. To ramp up the MSME sector, the government has also set an aim to increase their contribution in manufacturing to 50% in the next five years.
The goal is to set up a legislative framework that makes it compulsory for companies to pay small enterprises within 45 days of bill generation. The failure to do so has legal repercussions such as fines. This will hopefully immune MSMEs from shutting down too soon.
Several provisions have also been made to encourage MSMEs. Small businesses can now register themselves on the Udyog Aadhaar Portal. Registering comes with perks such as loans with lower interest rates and tax subsidies.
Samadhaan, a website where businesses can report their problems has also been set up to establish a line of communication with entrepreneurs. How Viable Is This Venture?
It is necessary to ask whether such a government-controlled eCommerce portal could actively compete with the already established eCommerce behemoths, likes of Amazon and Flipkart. In the face of the current recession and falling unemployment rates, the success of Bharatcraft becomes more crucial. And while nothing can be said at this point, certain events in the past year indicate potentially good prospects.