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Govt launches online marketing site for women entrepreneurs; poor execution

Mahila e-haat

The ministry of women and child development has launched an online marketing portal for women entrepreneurs  called Mahila e-haat. The website will allow women to list and showcase their products online without any extra costs

Mahila e-Haat helps women entrepreneurs to showcase products manufactured and sold  by them. The ministry says that more than 10,000 self help groups and 1.25 lakh women beneficiaries would be able to use the website on the day of launch.

For registering on the website, the women entrepreneurs will have to submit information online or by email/letter in the required format. The moderators will then select the products to be displayed and inform vendors. The sellers can also do the pricing of the products using their own discretion, according to this Economic Times report.

The product, along with photograph description, cost and mobile number and address of the participants will be displayed on the e-Haat enabling direct contact between sellers or service providers and buyers.

Women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi also said the second stage Mahila e-haat will integrate with e-commerce portals to provide a larger platform for selling and buying.

MediaNama’s take

On first look, the website looks like a poorly executed listings site. Ideally, the website should have allowed women to sign up and sell products directly via a dashboard. Keeping in mind the digital literacy programme, the government should be teaching the women entrepreneurs how to use the website and have moderators to help women set up an online store front. The website should also have a payment portal with the money going directly into their bank accounts.

Other similar developments with government 

– Earlier this month, the Telangana State Handicrafts Development Corporation (TSHDC) tied up with Amazon India to sell their local hand-made ‘Golkonda’ handicraft products on the e-commerce portal.

-In July 2015, NDTV’s ecommerce platform IndianRoots partnered with Banka Silk, a handloom brand from Bihar to sell products made by local artisans of Banka district in Bihar on its platform. The tie up will help in the distribution of the Banka products worldwide. It also partnered with Fabindia to sell the latter’s Indian ethnic wear and merchandise.

-In August 2015, IndianRoots also tied up exclusively with Government of Bihar’s Upendra Maharathi Shilp Sansthan (UMSAS) to showcase the artisanship of Bihar’s handicraft makers on the platform. The partnership will be effective for 5 years, the first 3 years being exclusive to IndianRoots.

-In March 2015, Mobile marketplace Paytm opened a branded store called “Garvi Gurjari” which showcases products from the Gujarat State Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation. Paytm also signed an expression of interest (EOI) with the state-run handloom corporation to help artisans and craftsmen in Gujarat to help drive business beyond their immediate geographical boundary.

-Flipkart has also been actively investing in this space, and has signed up a number of deals to help promote the rural economy and artisans. In February 2015, Flipkart signed an MoU with the CSC e-governance India Limited to work out a mechanism to help Common Service Centers (CSCs) pan India to leverage Flipkart’s e-commerce platform.

-Similarly, In January 2015, Snapdeal.com had signed an MOU with the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) and the  Ministry of Commerce and Industry, for training design students. As a part of this deal, Snapdeal also let FDDI students under the social and artisan development program, sell merchandise through its website.

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