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Bharat Craft: Govt’s plan to launch Alibaba-like e-commerce portal for MSMEs seemingly scrapped

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: More than two years after announcing and deliberating on the idea of setting up an Alibaba-like e-commerce portal for MSMEs, the government seems to have scrapped the ambitious plan. Bharat Craft project was announced in August 2019 by former MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari at the listing event of 200th MSME on the National Stock Exchange and was expected to achieve a turnover of “Rs 10 lakh crore in the next few years,” the minister had said.

The current MSME Minister Narayan Rane said “No” in reply to a written question in Lok Sabha on Thursday that whether the government proposes to launch an e-commerce portal Bharat Craft on the lines of Alibaba and Amazon. The reasons for the government’s move couldn’t be ascertained.

The latest update on the portal has come months after Gadkari had informed at another event that the portal, which was to be jointly set up and operated by the State Bank of India and the government, was to be outsourced to a private entity for development and operations.

“We had multiple rounds of meetings with Government eMarketplace (GeM) as well…but now I have asked the portal to be outsourced to a private player. The better the portal performs, the better the commission private player will get. Also, an agency will be finalized, which will be responsible to deliver the project, because there are multiple issues that occur within the government while rules are also difficult,” Gadkari had said at an event organised by India SME Forum in March 2021.


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