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Centre Starts e-Retail Chain for Rural India

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

How about a Desi Rural Version of Amazon and Flipkart exclusively for the Rural Folk? There are severe restrictions on mobility and lack of adequate supplies in times of COVID-19. So in order to tackle this, the government is on the facilitation of a creation of a village level online retail chain and they are planning to take orders online and offline of supplies of essential items. They are planning to have outlets that take online and offline orders and they will also carry out home deliveries .They are also  planning to take orders via curated apps. 

This is a very ambitious plan and is being led by the Common Service Centres (CSC), the rural digital outreach vehicle of the government that reaches over 60 crore people through its nearly 3.8 lakh outlets. The CSC outlets, which are set up and run by private individuals but under the aegis of the ministry of electronics and IT (Meity), have been tasked with engaging in sale and supply of essential commodities such as vegetables, milk, pulses, fruits and other products, CSC CEO Dinesh Tyagi told TOI. 

Customers can go online and order supplies through a specially curated app that has been provided to village-level entrepreneurs (VLEs) or those given the charge of retail and other CSC activities. The VLEs, who also take offline orders, then make arrangements to transport the goods within a period of a few hours to a day at most. 

“These are like Amazon and Flipkart, but for the rural folk. We started with the initiative about three weeks ago and have already on-boarded about 2,000 CSC centres that are catering to nearly 12,000 villages,” Tyagi said. 

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