How is Modi govt using eCommerce to magnify the handloom brand?

While the government has signed MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with eCommerce major Flipkart, it has partnered with many others including Amazon India, NDTV Ethnic Retail, Craftsvilla to spur reach of handloom market.
Santosh Gangwar

Banking on the exponentially rising eCommerce in India, the union Ministry of textile has brought as many as 14 leading eCommerce entities to increase penetration of handloom products in the domestic market. While the domestic market projects enormous potential for handloom product, branding and reach is a major concern, which the ministry aims to effectively address through eCommerce.

Speaking about the Textile Ministry’s performance in the past two years, Union Textiles Minister Santosh Gangwar briefed about the new horizons in Indian textile industry, handloom being one of them. The minister said, “In order to promote the weavers, we have initiated easy loans under Mudra scheme. In order to maximize reach of handloom products, we have roped in e-marketing, wherein we have partnered with 14 eRetail companies.”

While the government has signed MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with eCommerce major Flipkart, it has partnered with many others including Amazon India, NDTV Ethnic Retail, Craftsvilla to spur reach of handloom market.

The ministry has come up with an open door policy to attract eCommerce players, told Alok Kumar, Development Commissioner, Handlooms. In his words, “One MoU was signed with Flipkart earlier. Subsequently we have come up with an open door policy where we have clear cut laid down conditions wherein eCommerce players can come and apply. On the basis of their track record, we get into partnership with them.”

The conditions of the ministry include creating create a separate section on their webpage for India Handloom brand and handloom market. According to Development Commissioner, this step would assure the consumers of authenticity of the product as there have been cases of spurious products being sold on many portals.

Flash sales and almost unbelievable discounts are the tools that have helped eRetailers set foot in Indian market. However, the ministry has set guidelines stating that weavers should be entitled to get 92 per cent of the price quoted irrespective of the discounts given by eRetailers. The portal is entitled to keep maximum 8 per cent of the total price quoted.

“Discounting is a part of the business model of eRetailers, but the weaver should get 92 per cent of the price quoted, irrespective of discounts. We can’t regulate the eCommerce business model, but we can impose a tab,” added Development Commissioner.

The ministry says portals are approaching weavers directly, too; one has apparently done with 24 weaver societies. The weaver or manufacturer has to get approval and registration, and are then linked with an eCommerce partner for uploading specified products on the portal.

Also, the ministry is helping the eRetailers reach out to the clusters, as handloom is a difficult segment as it is mostly present in rural areas. 

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