NITI Aayog is considering the integration of small and medium enterprises (SME) on e-commerce platforms and creation of an online repository of product offerings by the Indian SMEs and has sought EoIs for a feasibility study of the same.
The government’s think tank has in this direction recently invited expressions of interest (EoI) from research organisations and institutions, including universities and deemed universities, with a cost ceiling for the study at Rs 50 lakh.
The terms of reference of the EoI includes, “the roadmap for integration of SMEs across India on e-commerce platforms by providing universal e-commerce access and its culmination as centralised online repository of Indian SMEs product offerings.”
A public notice by the government body said that the data acquired can be leveraged by providing access to existing market places to offer the products repository for sale on their platforms.
This also involves identification of gaps and measures needed for seamless integration of small businesses across e-commerce platforms for universal e-commerce access.
The EoI also seeks evaluation of existing market places managed by various government departments such as NSIC Bazar, VLE Bazar, msmemart.com, CSE Bazars, GeM and their revamping to support product and service identification process, digitisation of product and services through cataloguing.
The study would also involve evaluating existent products or service database with respective state or MSME Departments.
It would also involve studying the possibility of identifying and creating products or service catalogues which can be later integrated with the existing market places and assessment of leveraging universal e-commerce access for exports
“Evaluation of hard and soft infrastructure of Government Departments for aggregating data especially for SMEs in India, i.e. seller details and product description required for on-boarding on E-Commerce platforms” would also be included.
The study would cover evaluation of entire ecosystem through research and holding consultations with various stakeholders, including Central and state government departments, industry members, associations, think tanks and forums.
This would also involve analysis of e-commerce policies globally and evaluation on existence of such platform working currently in any jurisdiction. The study would be to evaluate possible features of the universal e-commerce access to all sellers.
The study would include assessment of possible government infrastructure currently available through secondary research, i.e. soft infrastructure, posts, railways, telecommunication, BharatNet, UPI, country wide MSME institutions, etc. which can be leveraged to make a win-win situation model, the NITI Aayog notice said.
NITI Aayog has set the cost ceiling for the study at Rs 50 lakh.
India has around 6.4 crores MSMEs in the country, contributing significantly to the economic and social development. The sector is one of the major employers in the country.