Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government has waived off registration fee of Rs. 5000 for local artisans in an effort to discourage middlemen and encourage direct selling of handicrafts through e-commerce platforms.
The artisans will also be receiving training from the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handlooms, Kashmir with regard to selling their products on e-commerce platforms.
“Now, the artisans will not have to pay a registration fee of Rs. 5000 on Government e-Marketplace (GeM). All sales and government purchases happen on this e-marketing platform where an artisan is supposed to register himself/ herself first. This will encourage more and more artisans to sell their products online and this will negate the role of middlemen to a large extent,” Director, Handicrafts, and Handloom, Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah told The Kashmir Monitor.
As per official figures, GeM has over 46 lakh products available for sale and so far transactions worth over Rs. 1.26 lakh crores have been carried out on the e-commerce website. Nearly 24 lakh sellers and service providers are associated with the GeM.
He said the department will regularly hold programmes for the artisans so that they are encouraged to sell their products online.
“We recently organized a two-day seminar with Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) on packaging for online platforms. Usually, artisans keep their products like a shawl in a plastic bag but besides educating them about attractive designs of packaging materials. We also made them aware of QR-coded packaging material. We will hold other programmes regarding the sale of products on e-commerce platforms in the future,” said Shah.
Art Researcher Wiqar Bashir said the waiving off of registration fee was welcome but the artisans required more hand-holding.
“Artisans suffered a lot of financial losses during the lockdown. This registration fee of Rs. 5000 is a big amount for them and it was also a big deterrent for their involvement in e-commerce. The department will also teach them how to upload photographs and already many received training in the packaging of goods. If artisans come to online platforms, it will negate the role of middlemen. The artisans will come into direct contact with the buyers globally and also get to know about the marketing trends. However, the artisans need more hand-holding from the government and other groups as the community is by and large not so well versed with online sales,” Wiqar told The Kashmir Monitor.