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The Indian government has cleared Rs 200 crore for setting up an online agriculture market place and will integrate 585 wholesale mandis across India to giver farmers better access to market prices for the produce. The portal will be set up by the Central Sector Scheme for Promotion of National Agricultural Market got its funding through the Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund (ATIF) and was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

585 regulated markets across the country will be integrated with the common e-platform to provide farmers and traders with access to opportunities for purchase/ sale of agri-commodities at optimal prices in a transparent manner across the country. The press relase also added that private mandis will also be allowed access to the e-platform for price discovery but however they will not be supported with any funds for equipment / infrastructure.

The Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) will be the lead agency t develop the national e-market by the ministry of agriculture. The SFAC will implement the e-platform in three phases during 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18.

The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation will also give a one time grant with a ceiling of Rs 30 lakh per mandi for setting up equipment and infrastructure to connect with the e-market platform.

Other government marketplaces

– In August last year, the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) launched a B2C e-commerce portal called msmeshopping.com, that aims to help Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country sell their products online. The site is being positioned as a low-cost marketing platform for MSMEs and will enable them to sell retail products as well as industrial equipment and machineries.

– Earlier last month, the government launched an online marketplace portal for students to download school books and ebooks. The initiative called e-Basta is a portal where authorized school teachers can access the portal to compile course material and textbooks, and e-books as per a school’s preferences for each class. The portal currently holds 329 textbooks from the NCERT for classes 1 to 12 and the ebooks are available in Hindi, English, Urdu and Sanskrit. It also shows that a few schools have started posting syllabi  and course material on the website for students to download onto tablets.

– In February, the Indian government launched 11 central government services on its government-to-business portal eBiz, with the aim of making the process of setting up a business in India much simpler. The services on offer are from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Reserve Bank of India, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation and Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organisation.

– India Post says that it will be rolling out its e-commerce portal in the next six months and is looking to take on the likes of Amazon and ebay. India Post says that it will not be a marketplace model but it shall maintain a moderated and curated list of items. In addition to the physical products, services of different public sector are also being planned to be included into the tradable items of the portal. The report adds that India Post will be tying up with other government entities such as Spices Board, Tea Board and Cashew Board to offer local specialties.

Image credit: Flickr user  Koshy Koshy