All India Traders’ Federation to bring SME businesses online

Through the “CAIT Mastercard Globallinker” programme

Published - September 09, 2019 11:24 pm IST - COIMBATORE

The Confederation of All India Traders, which recently rolled out the “CAIT Mastercard Globallinker” programme, plans to bring online one lakh small and medium-scale businesses by October 31.

Tapping e-commerce opportunities

Secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Praveen Khandelwal told The Hindu on Sunday that the programme had several components that would enable SME traders to tap e-commerce opportunities. It has been estimated that the country had seven crore SME trade businesses. But only 35 % of these were computerised. The entire government structure - Central and State governments - was going online. So, the compliance should also be on the online platform.

“We thought we need to help the traders digitalise so that they sustain their businesses,” he said. These traders should be present on the e-commerce front apart from their offline stores. The digitalisation programme of the Confederation would enable the SME businesses to go online, facilitate e-payments, and support in the logistic needs. The Confederation had tied up with the common service centres, numbering about five lakh in the country, HDFC Bank, Mastercard, and also with some of the Universities.

“We are holding seminars, workshops, and conferences, and in the first phase will have 100 such events across the country. We plan to take one lakh SMEs on board by then for digitalisation,” he said.

These could be businesses with ₹ 10 lakh to ₹15 lakh turnover a year to those with ₹700 crore turnover a year. The outlet size can be as small as 500 sq.ft and the business can be wholesale or retail in any vertical. The Association had requested Global Linker, the technology partner for this programme, to create a system so that retail outlets within three or four km radius of a customer get better visibility when a customer searched for a product.

Further, in smaller towns and villages, it might be difficult for a trader to invest in a computer system and have someone to monitor the orders.

The CAIT has planned to have clusters of 30 traders each and have an entrepreneur who would support these traders in the online business. It has also appealed to the Union Government to provide subsidy or interest subvention to help the traders in rural areas and smaller towns buy computers. They can now use the common service centres to register and go online.

“Keeping in view the policies of the Government, it is imperative for traders to be on e-commerce,” Mr. Khandelwal said.

Chief Executive Officer of Global Linker Sameer Vakil added there were pre-packaged solutions in the programme that businesses can opt for and data analytical tools that would help the SMEs in the long run. Of late, many in the trading community were witnessing their next generation going for Corporate jobs. This was because they do not relate to the old way of doing business. The digitalisation programme would attract the younger generation to trading, create jobs, and provide a larger market to businesses.

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