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Govt mulls selling Chanderi fabric online
Mar '16
The government is toying with the idea of allowing online sale of Chanderi fabric among a clutch of other products identified closely with a place, the Economic Times has reported.

The idea has been mooted by the Centre for WTO Studies at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade after a study.

The study of geographical indication (GI) commissioned by the Department of Commerce has suggested using e-commerce to enhance the reach of India's GI products and eliminate middlemen to allow producers to sell directly through their own portals, with support from the government and tie-ups with other online retailers.

The study by the Centre for WTO Studies, is in line with the Foreign Trade Policy for 2015-2020 that has identified GI as a key area for policy initiatives within one year.

India enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act in 1999 and 228 products had received GI registration by March 2015.

"However, simply getting GI registered is not enough, effort needs to be made to help the producers leverage GI as a marketing tool. Most of the producers and artisans of GI products in India severely lack the wherewithal and the capacity to undertake post-registration activities for marketing and brand building of their products," the study said.

The study also touched on the issue of rampant misuse of GI, citing sales of Kota Doria sarees and Darjeeling tea far exceeding their production as examples.

It also identified lack of producer or artisan database, proper monitoring of quality and compliance and low level of online presence or e-marketing initiatives as reasons for inadequate marketing and branding of these products.

The study suggested that GI producers and state emporia should tie up with online retail platforms such as Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal and eBay to expand market access, but cautioned that care needs to be taken to ensure that these retailers differentiate and protect the GI products.

"Before such tie-ups are finalised, it would be necessary to ensure production of sufficient inventory which can be a big challenge due to limited production capacity and working capital. Kerala government's talks with Flipkart faced problems as Flipkart needed ready stock of 500-1,000 units of each item but producers do not have so much stock as they don't have working capital," it said.

While the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) plans to create dedicated websites and e-commerce portal for GI products along with a mobile app, an e-commerce site for Banarasi sarees is also in the works.

The study said that state emporia websites can also tie up with other e-commerce players as Rajasthali has done with Snapdeal, but said in such cases certain conditions need to be fulfilled for protection of GI. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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