There exists a plethora of rich and diverse ethnicities, traditions, cultures, and cuisines in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic positioned the country at the centre of a deeper digital era. The mobility restrictions and lockdowns have forced several small and medium industries of the country to explore new opportunities and make technological advancements in the way they interact with consumers. For many such enterprises pivoting to virtual platforms and e-commerce became a survival tactic by establishing a direct correspondence between buyers and sellers in a cost effective manner. However, several local businesses and entrepreneurs in isolated corners failed to utilise the existing virtual market platforms to contribute to their growth trajectory. Therefore, to fill the gap and under ‘vocal for local’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, the government of India launched the One District One Product (ODOP) in February 2021. With a primary aim to encourage the citizens to rely on Indian produce and further place the country at the heart of the global markets, the vision of ODOP is to foster district-level development in the country that is rooted in India's heritage. Moreover, the initiative was envisaged to provide rural livelihood, generate employment and firmly establish rural entrepreneurship as a mode of sustainable livelihood. The critical step under this is to identify local products with high export potential across the country's districts and generate a wider audience for such products, simultaneously providing support in major pitstops till it reaches the consumer. Since its launch, the initiative has provided the much-needed boost to domestic livelihood creation and has taken it to the next level by aiming to transform several districts into export hubs.
ODOP has seen many success stories in various parts of the country, including Haryana, Meghalaya, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, among others. It has made significant strides in identifying localised products and promote their growth through marketing networks, focussed investments and procedural guidance and support for these products, thus, proving itself to be a catalyst in the export growth of indigenous products.
Moving one step ahead in these efforts, Amazon, the world’s biggest e-commerce platform, in collaboration with Invest India and Indian Industries Association (IIA), recently launched the ‘India ODOP Bazaar’ on its website. This is a dedicated storefront led by MSMEs for creating an exclusive virtual marketplace for hundreds of products under the ODOP initiative.
Owing to its huge customer base, Amazon has a significant audience keen to explore genuine, unique niche products from different regions of the country and witness its diversity from the comfort of their homes. It also provides an opportunity for the consumers to support local businesses and support their growth through an engaging and interactive experience. The focused platform redirects the viewers to regional pages and learn more about the ODOP program, along with its testimonials. This will create awareness amongst individuals regarding the initiative, its products and encourage informed decisions. For the sellers on the platform, in addition to procuring a greater audience, enabling a single window interaction between buyers and sellers and eliminating logistics, transportation and marketing cost, the dedicated window for their products will ensure competitive prices for their goods.
From an economic point of view, this initiative will pave the way for stable livelihood outcomes in rural regions, encourage entrepreneurship efforts in these areas, generate further employment opportunities and establish sustainable value chains for heritage-based specialty products from across the country. On the road back to resilient recovery of the nation, one of the priority areas, as highlighted by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, remains inclusive socio-economic development. India ODOP Bazaar underlines a pathway for the country to promote its local products, support their growth and boost their global demand and position rural entrepreneurship as a cornerstone of our ‘Atmanirbharta.’
This article is co-authored by Srijata Deb and Devika Chawla.