New Delhi: The Textiles Ministry on Monday inked a pact with homegrown e-retailing major Flipkart to provide an online marketing platform to handloom weavers across the country, an initiative to boost the handloom sector, empower the weavers and uplift manufacturing.
Responding to queries raised on choosing a particular company for the agreement, Textiles Secretary S K Panda said, "What we are starting now is only on a pilot basis, nobody is compelled to sell only to a particular agency. Our aim is to eliminate middlemen, assist the master weaver... After a period of 3 to 6 months we will go for bidding."
Textiles Minister Santosh Gangwar, who was present on the occasion, emphasised that the focus of this association should be to help weavers and weaver entrepreneurs to produce products in tune with the buyer requirements and grow them significantly so that they may become manufacturers not only at a local but also at a national level.
Through this exclusive agreement, Flipkart will provide weavers in India an online marketing platform, infrastructural support in data analytics and customer acquisition to help them get remunerative prices for their products and scale up their business.
"This (MoU) will help us reach out to thousands of weavers across India... Through this initiative we are giving a direct platform to the weavers to reach out to the end-customers. There will be no middlemen. The customer will get access to variety of products across India. Flipkart will help them (weavers) to list on the marketplace," Ankit Nagori, vice president-marketplace at Flipkart, told PTI.
"We will charge weavers a 3 to 4 per cent commission on sale. There will be no listing charge or any other thing. If a sale happens, then he (customer) will have to pay 3 to 4 per cent commission on that sale. However, we will charge 15 per cent commission from readymade garments suppliers," he added.
"This kind of a coordinated effort has been planned and executed for the first time with Flipkart for handloom weavers which will bridge the missing linkages of market intelligence, market access and logistics and help the Indian weavers in getting remunerative prices for their products," the ministry said.
The weavers will sell their products under their brand name and evolve as an entrepreneur selling his products directly to buyers across the country without stepping out of their workplace.
Data analytics and market intelligence provided by Flipkart will help the weavers focus only on producing better saleable product ranges.
This in turn will help them plan their production and inventory and expand their business.
"We are confident about the success of the programme and in 3 to 6 months' time we would like to expand the programme. For this initiative the first event is in September in Varanasi where we will invite weavers. Textiles Ministry will help us reach out to the weavers," Mr Nagori said.
E-commerce is one of the thrust areas for the Narendra Modi government. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget had allowed manufacturing companies to sell their products through retail, including e-commerce platforms, without any additional approval.