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Government mulling online sale of Chanderi fabric

India may allow online sales of Chanderi fabric. Most producers and artisans of GI products in India severely lack the wherewithal and the capacity to undertake post-registration activities for marketing and brand building of their products.

India enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act in 1999 and 228 products had received GI registration by March 2015. However, there is now a feeling getting GI registration is not enough and efforts need to be made to help producers leverage GI as a marketing tool. E-commerce is seen as a way to enhance the reach of India’s GI products and eliminate middlemen to allow producers to sell directly through their own portals, with support from the government and tie-ups with other online retailers.

Lack of producer or artisan database, proper monitoring of quality, compliance and low levels of online presence or e-marketing initiatives are seen as reasons for inadequate marketing and branding of these products. However, there are challenges in online tie-ups. Before such tie-ups are finalised, it would be necessary to ensure production of sufficient inventory which can be a big challenge due to limited production capacity and working capital. An online retailer may need ready stock of 500 to 1000 units of each item but producers may not have so much stock as they don't have the working capital.