Rural artisans may soon be able to sell their products through e-commerce platforms as part of a facilitation plan envisaged by the government that includes setting up of producer companies in select clusters.
The rural development ministry has drawn up a list of 200 products that will be sold on e-commerce platforms, including the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), said officials. The ministry has joined hands with Tata Trusts to set up a not-for-profit company under Section 25 of Companies Act to provide professional support to rural artisans to sell their products globally, they said.
“We are in the process of setting up clusters or producer companies by bringing in people making similar products,” a senior government official told ET.
Some handicrafts and handloom products, such as Madhubani paintings from Bihar, tribal paintings from Jharkhand, terracotta items from Rajasthan and tussar silk wear from Bhagalpur, made by rural artisans, mainly women entrepreneurs, are already being sold online via Amazon and Flipkart.
The govt is now keen to expand the initiative as part of the 100-day plan in the second term of the Narendra Modi government. The products identified by the government could include stationery items such as folders, pen holders and gift items, according to those in the know.
The official cited earlier said the government’s initiative will help rural artisans legally qualify to be on e-commerce platforms and cater to a larger market.
A dedicated value chain development centre, with four-five regional offices, is being set up by the government to provide complete value chain solutions to rural artisans. This will provide artisans technical assistance as well as help in designing and packaging of products to enhance their global appeal.
The plan includes engaging professional photographers and content writers to ensure products featured on e-commerce platforms have a story to tell to make them more attractive to buyers.
“Coming on to the e-commerce platform will help artisans get larger volumes and better prices for their products even after parting with at least 40% (of revenue) to these sites as seller charges,” said G Vinod Nair, manager-non-farm livelihood products, National Rural Livelihood Mission.
At present, rural artisans sell their products through central and state exhibitions organised by the ministry or directly through traders, besides catering to local demand restricted to their own districts.