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Flipkart and Amazon on government’s radar to empower rural women 

A few products and handicrafts made by rural women (Photo: IANS)

The Ministry of Rural Development has signed an agreement with the Meesho group to market products made by rural women under Self Help Group (SHG) schemes in a bid to raise non-agricultural incomes. The Meesho group, an online platform that sells products, will help the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) in marketing the products made by rural women.

Speaking at the signing of the MoU, Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Giriraj Singh said that marketing of products made by rural women is not easy. “The ministry has already tied-up with Amazon and Flipkart. We have recently also tied up with the Patanjali group to ensure that products made by rural women can be sold through ecommerce platforms”.

Expressing confidence in the might of the e-commerce platforms, Singh said Patanjali will displace SHG products in their stores as well.

The minister said that in 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over we had 2.35 crore women working under SHGs. “Now we have identified 19.5 crore rural households. In the first phase we intend to reach 10 crore of these households for e-commerce platforms. We have already crossed nine crore families this year and will cover the rest by next year”.

Singh added that the government has been able to reduce NPAs from 9.85 per cent in 2014 to 2.08 per cent.

The minister said: “India is number one in digital transactions. We want digital transactions to go up in rural India also”.

Talking about the tie-up with Meesho, Singh said that the group will provide training to the SHG women in designing, packaging and marketing their products.

“There are nine crore women in SHGs and they will help India reach the five trillion dollar economy”, Singh emphasised.

Sanjeev Barnwal, founder and CTO, Meesho group told India Narrative that under the MoU with NRLM, the group will provide training to SHGs in taking photos of their products, cataloguing, pricing and packaging these.

that the group does not sell branded products through its online platforms. “We focus on small and medium enterprises as well as non-branded products. Also, we do not take commissions from suppliers or buyers”.

Revealing his revenue model, Barnwal said that his group raises money by advertising products whose manufacturers want higher visibility and views on their products.

The platform sells between 300-400 categories of products made by SHGs and small businesses. Barnwal said that his products are bought by people in 2-4 tier towns, “where 50 per cent of the buyers are new to e-commerce”.

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