Government taps logistics firms to link consumers with kirana shops

NEW DELHI: The government is ready with a scheme to get kirana stores to directly deliver essential goods at your doorstep using the network of logistics firms that have hitherto provided last-mile connectivity to e-commerce companies.
The idea is to use messaging platforms such as Whatsapp to connect consumers with kirana stores, who will pay via digital payment tools such as UPI and BHIM. The logistics firms will then pick up grocery and other products from the stores through their network of delivery boys. The Aarogya Setu is proposed to be put to use to avoid any risk in the chain. Consumer data privacy will be maintained.
Officials said state governments and local administration can also use the network to deliver grains and pulses from public distribution network to consumers

Govt using crisis to help kiranas take on biggies
Currently, district administration implementing the lockdown across states relying on local traders to supply using e-rickshaws and other modes. The department for promotion of industry and internal trade, which has put in place the technology solution with the help of other stakeholders, has already tested it in six cities, including Varanasi and officials said, the platform will be deployed over the next few days.
Manufacturers are being onboarded and aligned for supply of essential commodities, even as tech partners are being roped in for logistics and digitization of their services, sources told TOI.
More on Covid-19
While it will help retailers, as well as well producers and wholesalers, meet the demands of consumers, the government also seems to be using the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to make kirana stores self-sufficient to take on their much-celebrated rivals – supermarket chains and e-commerce players, who are unable to meet consumer needs during the lockdown.
“During the crisis, it has been reiterated through several meetings with industry and government stakeholders that kiranas have stood tall, while the online machinery has collapsed. Online grocery is just 2-5% of overall grocery business. Kiranas are the lifeline. Our sales to kiranas have increased by 50% during this time. At a time when FMCG players are operating at 15-20% capacity, they should be given first preference,” said Arvind Mediratta, Metro Cash & Carry India.

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