Telangana Govt to set up e-Commerce Working Group and wants FTCCI to help it constitute one

Hyderabad, March 25, 2023……A Half Day Round Table discussion on Retail 4.0 was held in the city on Friday at Park, Hyatt, Banjara Hills. The theme of the Round Table Meeting was “Retail 4.0: Revolutionizing Retail through Online & Offline Partnership”

The objective of the first Round Table discussion was to sensitize various stakeholders to the concept of Retail 4.0.

Mr Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce & Information Technology, Electronics and Communications, Government of Telangana was the chief guest at the valedictory function. Addressing the gathering he spoke about the challenges small sellers face in their digital transformation. Some of these include ease of getting onboarded. Can we automate this process, is there a centralized way of cataloguing their products? he asked the retail professionals.

Product improvement is another challenge he said and added can we make sophisticated technology available to them by way of a soft loan or any other means? Can we find out a way of procuring raw material together with all other players in an aggregated way so that all in the process will benefit? Maintaining a minimum inventory is a big task. We need to address these and other, he told them

The Government of Telangana will extend any support in this journey. We are even in the process of appointing a panel of consultants in all areas such as branding, packaging, positioning, pricing and every other aspect of their digital transformation journey, Mr. Jayesh Ranjan informed.

Earlier Speaking at the inaugural function, Dr E. Vishnu Vardhan Reddy, Special Secretary (Investment Promotion and External Engagement), Department of Industries and Commerce, Govt of Telangana who was the Guest of Honour gave five factors for Retail 4.0 Revolutionizing to materialize. They include 01. Pace of Adoption of Technology, 02. Corporate Competition, 03. Logistics Policy Frameworks, 04. Tapping bottom of Pyramid, 05. Skilling.

Explaining them he said, Telangana State is the leader in adopting the technology. The state stands second in Internet and Mobile Penetration after Kerala. It boasts of 83 connections for every 100 people. The state also tops in per capita income. We are the most urbanized state.

The Retails space is attracting a lot of competition, which is very good. Telangana Government likes to encourage healthy competition. It will drive growth. We are happy that Amazon discovered this potential of the state and made a substantial investment here, Dr E. Vishu said.

Telangana is the first state to come out with a Logistics Policy even before the Govt of India came out with one. The state offers incentives to companies that invest in new technology. Onboarding MSMEs is very important in tapping the bottom of the Pyramid, he said.

Speaking on skilling he reminded the audience about TASK(Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge) set up in the state for skilling youth and Creating Synergy between institutions of Government, Industry and Academia with the objective of improving quality, relevance, access and Outreach of training. He spoke about Innovation which is a very important aspect of Logistics policy. He mentioned that the government was looking forward to setting up a fund to help the startup ecosystem in the sector. To make the fund sustainable, he urged interesting companies to come forward as credible partners. He also announced that the government was planning to set up an e-commerce working group. He appealed to FTCCI to help the government to constitute the group. He concluded his talk on a promising note that Telangana Government would remain business-friendly.

Delivering the theme address Mr Udai Mehta, Head, of Public Policy(E-commerce) at Amazon said the purpose of the Round Table Discussion was to enhance the capacity of MSMEs. The Vision of Amazon is to transform the way India buys and sells. Our goal is to digitize close to 10 million MSMEs and create 2 million jobs by the year 2025. So far, we have digitized 4 million MSMEs, generated business worth 5 billion US $ and 1.5 million jobs.

Speaking further he added that the 100seller base in the year 2013 is now grown to 11 lacks on the Amazon platform. What is more interesting about this transformation is 50% of sellers onboarded are from tier-2 and 3 cities. We have reached a stage where we serve 100% Pin codes.

Telangana has become a destination for startups and MSMEs because of the state’s proactive policies. Udai thanked FTCCI for its role in its transformational journey in the state.

Amazon has the largest facility in Telangana. It is the largest campus outside the USA. We introduced Amazon Air this year, the first in India that allows the transportation of goods, Udai added.

“There is a need for a progressive, facilitative policy, that does not draw an artificial distinction between online and offline commerce. The policy should view E-commerce as a vehicle for the growth of MSMEs and encourage upskilling” said Mr Udai Mehta, Head of Public Policy (E-Commerce) at Amazon

Anil Agarwal, President of FTCCI delivering his welcome address said presently, the share of online retail in India is less than 5%. The sector needs to aim for 15%, and the roundtables are intended to highlight this. The takeaway from the conference for the participants will be the promise and potential that E-commerce holds for them, and the manner of realizing these benefits.

India has recently become the fifth-largest economy in the world. It aims to become a $5 trillion economy by 2025 (including a $1 trillion digital economy). To reach this goal, it is necessary for Indian policymakers to unleash the potential of the country’s E-commerce sector. It is also necessary to ensure that the growth of the E-commerce sector will be inclusive, benefitting all stakeholders.

Ms Khyati Nerwane, CEO of FTCCI informed that a white paper would be published after the Round Table Meeting.

The half-day session was organized by FTCCI with support from Amazon. It had 40 participants. It had two sessions. The one was on Conceptualizing Retail 4.0 in a post-pandemic world. It was moderated by Mr Bala Peddigiri, Chief Innovation Officer, TCS. Covid helped the quick adoption of Technology.

One of the panellists Anirudh said Direct to Consumers(D2C) was picking up and exploding. It is now the way to go forward. The future model of retailing will be Phygital. He cited Lenskart as a perfect example of the integration of 4.0 Retail. Dark Stores are boosting e-commerce. He added that ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce) will be a game changer for businesses.

Avinash Agarwal of Sri Jagdamba Pearls, another panelist said Live Commerce is more happening than e-commerce and it is the way to go in future.

V. Tirupathi, Sales Head, Karachi Bakery said three major developments UPI Payment mode, Online Customers and OTT emerged due to Covid shaping future of retail business.

Session two was on The Promise of Retail 4.0 for MSMEs focused on enhancing the digital backbone of the Indian economy. The Panelists covered the benefits of digitalization for MSMEs, as well as inclusive development

It was moderated by Mr. Avik Sarkar, ISB. The panellists of the session included Ms Deepa Dadu, Managing Director, Dadus Mithai Vatika; Kshitij Jain, Director, External Fulfillment, Amazon; Vivek Shukla, CEO, Nukkad Shops and M. Chandrashekhar, Technical Advisor, Indo German Vocational Education and Training Programme (IGVET) at GIZ(The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, the main German development agency).

The two sessions had a deep dive into Retail 4.0. They highlighted how existing E Commerce entities, along with government initiatives have helped in the digitalization of MSMEs. They also highlighted how digital public infrastructure such as UPI has helped various stakeholders adopt E-commerce retail.

Few sellers who witnessed growth and improvement in sales by being on the Amazon marketplace shared their journey and success stories