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FILE PHOTO: The logo of India's e-commerce firm Flipkart  (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: The logo of India's e-commerce firm Flipkart (REUTERS)

Government begins talks with e-commerce firms to promote local products

The government will also discuss with e-commerce platforms the training and orientation of sellers of GI products for their listing, shipping as well as exports

Bengaluru: The commerce and industry ministry and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is expected to ask top online retailers such as Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal to focus on listing and promoting geographical indication (GI) products to provide visibility to locally produced items.

The government is expected to meet this week executives from these e-commerce firms to discuss and identify GI products that have maximum demand in the market for a “pilot project", said four people aware of the discussions.

GI tag is used on products that correspond to a specific geographical location or origin, including a certain town or region in India. These include Darjeeling tea, Coorg Arabica coffee and Kashmiri saffron, to name a few. India has registered 361 GI products, as of March 2020.

GI products were earlier sold largely through offline retail.

The meeting, which is expected to be presided over by the DPIIT joint secretary, will also discuss ways to promote and market the selected GI products to increase their visibility and awareness.

The government will also discuss with e-commerce platforms the training and orientation of sellers of GI products for their listing, shipping as well as exports.

“The meeting will be on figuring out a standardized practice of listing these products on e-commerce platforms, and digital literacy, which is needed to be provided to manufacturers, sellers and cooperative societies manufacturing and selling these geographical indication products," said one of the people cited above, who didn’t want to be named.

The person said the government wants to help these manufacturers and sellers move to a self-serve model, where they can leverage online commerce independently to boost sales.

A second person said the government will also ask the online retailers to add respective logos on online listings of these products for greater visibility.

However, e-commerce firms which have in the past worked with sellers of these products, complain about supply challenges of these products, which tend to be abrupt.

“The geographical indication products manufactured which the government sells have a traditional retail mindset and are not structured for online. There is a lack of online literacy, and governments needs to pitch in to fund this ecosystem and ensure constant supply of these products of e-commerce," said a third person.

Last year, in a bid to provide more visibility to these products, then Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said that stalls of geographical indication products will be set up across 103 airports in the country.

Since the start of covid-19 pandemic, the Indian government has been undertaking several efforts to promote India’s indigenous economy through its ‘Vocal for local’ initiative.

Recently, on the occasion of 74th Independence Day of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised that India needs to make products that are appreciated all over the world.

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