“Ecommerce will play a definite role in helping India’s MSMEs succeed. In parallel, there needs to be a greater focus on capacity building for MSMEs. This includes helping them with the right inputs on design, manufacturing, maintaining product quality and scaling their business. Ecommerce players such as Amazon should continue to focus on such capacity building activities,” the minister said while speaking at the Amazon Smbhav Event.
Lauding the global tech giant’s decision to announce a $250 million venture fund for India for investments in technology, startups and small businesses, Gadkari said that this would help to accelerate digitalisation of MSMEs across sectors. “The initial focus can be on two key segments, agriculture and healthcare. The special initiative called Spotlight Northeast has been announced to boost the local economy and to create more jobs across the eight states of the Northeast,” he stated.
The minister added that Amazon’s partnership with North Eastern Handicrafts and Handlooms Development Corporation would help to empower many communities. “It would empower 50,000 weavers, artisans and small businesses in the region by 2025 and will bring more than 5000 unique crafts, Geographical Indication (GI) products and other local products on its Indian marketplace as well as boost exports of special commodities from Northeast like tea, honey and spices etc to millions of customers globally,” he highlighted.
Amazon India will be using technology, training and enablement capability to power local shops across India to sell online and aims to bring 1 million local shopkeepers and Kirana store owners on its platform by 2025.
Delving on the true potential of Atmanirbhar Bharat, the minister spoke about the journey of Amazon’s global selling export programme. “The Amazon global selling export programme took three years to get the first billion in export. The second billion came in 18 months. And the third billion has taken just 12 months. This is a great example of the dynamism of our MSMEs and a proof of how we have the potential to succeed,” he emphasised.
The minister added that with global supply chains undergoing significant restructuring and countries looking to diversify their supply out of China, MSMEs have a great opportunity that awaits them in the times to come.
Speaking on how the first wave of Covid-19 was fought with a lot of resilience and the hardships faced by MSMEs, Gadkari said that he was confident in the ability of the industry as well as the MSME sector to battle the ongoing wave with similar conviction and lead India to a positive growth trajectory.