In a resounding stride towards transforming India's retail landscape, the Union Finance Minister, in the Fiscal Year 2023-24 Budget Speech, introduced a revolutionary initiative that promises to redefine the nation's economic and cultural fabric - the establishment of 'Unity-Malls' or PM-Ekta Malls in each state. This visionary endeavour, embedded within the 'Scheme for Special Assistance to States for Capital Investment 2023-24,' and outlined in the supplementary guidelines provided by the Department of Expenditure, seeks to infuse a new vitality into the ethos of the nation.
The initiative's core tenets revolve around promoting national integration, championing the 'Make in India' ethos, and fortifying the 'One District One Product (ODOP)' initiative.
Prime Minister Ekta Mall emerges as a beacon of economic empowerment and cultural celebration under the One District One Product (ODOP) initiative. This ambitious venture aims to strengthen the symbiotic relationship between artisans and consumers, presenting a sweeping panorama of indigenous products from every nook and cranny of the country. With an unwavering commitment to promoting local craftsmanship and preserving cultural heritage, the PM-Ekta Mall stands as a testament to India's diverse tapestry, creating a vibrant marketplace that transcends geographical boundaries.
The initiative known as the Scheme for Special Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure was first introduced in the fiscal year 2020-21. This program operates by providing states with financial support in the form of an interest-free loan, with the stipulation that repayment is to be made after a period of 50 years. This strategic approach aims to offer states the necessary fiscal assistance without the immediate burden of interest, fostering long-term financial sustainability and economic development.
Under Unity Mall, a substantial budget of INR 5,000 Cr has been allocated, with a minimum incentive of INR 100 Cr for each state.
Under the Special Assistance Scheme, 28 states are poised to construct Ekta Malls at strategic locations – their financial capitals or areas with maximum footfall. This grand platform is not merely a retail space centres an embodiment of unity, providing local artisans with an unparalleled opportunity to showcase their craftsmanship on a national stage.
With 27 states having already submitted Detailed Project Reports (DPRs), and 13 states receiving funds from the Department of Expenditure (DoE), the momentum is building for a transformative journey.
Overview of State Allocated Budget and Upcoming Site
|Allocated Budget as per Scheme (in Cr)
|Proposed Unity Mall Site Location
|Hollongi, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh
|Assam Trade Promotion Organisation Complex, Betkuchi, Guwahati
|Merces, Bambolim, Panjim
|Karnal (NCR), Haryana
|Mohal Chakvan Dhagwar, Dharamshala, Distt. Kangra
|Ulwe Node, Navi Mumbai
|New Shillong Township, Mawdiangdiang
|Muanna Veng, Aizawl
|Sovima, Chumukedima District
|Shilpgram, Agra, Aalampura, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow
|Anandapur, Adarsha Nagar, Kolkata
*Allocation to States under Part-VI (Unity Mall) of the ‘Scheme for Special Assistance to States for Capital Investment 2023-24’
Crafting a Unified Brand
PM-Ekta Mall is strategically positioned to embody a broader vision of economic empowerment, cultural exchange, and national unity. Placed ideally in state capitals, prominent tourism centers, or financial hubs, the architectural design emphasizes India's unity and grandeur with features like grand facades, atriums, and landscaping.
To ensure consistency and common branding, all Unity Malls are required to have common signage across the country. States are encouraged to consider multilingual signage to celebrate India's linguistic diversity. The design of Unity Malls will prominently feature the ODOP logo along with the Make in India logo, aligning with the promotion and branding of these respective initiatives.
With at least 36 commercial spaces representing each state and union territory, the mall ensures equal space for districts within the state, fostering national unity and contributing to initiatives like One District One Product, 'Make in India,' and 'Atmanirbhar Bharat.' These dedicated ODOP spaces serve as cultural showcases, vividly presenting the unique products, crafts, and heritage of each region. Whether it's the vibrant handlooms of Tamil Nadu, the intricate handicrafts of Rajasthan, or the traditional artifacts of Nagaland, every state's contribution is celebrated and given prominence.
The mall serves as a grand platform for artisans, catalyzing grassroots economic growth and celebrating diverse cultures to promote mutual understanding and a strong sense of national unity.
Strategic Integration of Technology and Sustainability
The brilliance of Prime Minister Ekta Mall lies not only in its physicality but in its visionary integration of cutting-edge technology and sustainable practices. A marriage of tradition and modernity, the mall promises an enhanced shopping experience through state-of-the-art exhibition centers, immersive experience zones, and amenities like Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Digital Displays. This forward-thinking approach ensures that the mall operates efficiently and minimizes environmental impact.
They are also equipped with amenities such as state-of-the-art food courts, adequate parking, recreational spaces, and cultural activity areas. The malls prioritize accessibility and inclusivity, adhering to national building code standards and providing conveniences for persons with disabilities.
Operational & Maintenance Model
The operational and maintenance model for PM-Ekta Malls adopts a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) approach. While the ownership remains with the government, the operational and maintenance responsibilities are entrusted to private parties. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) should include a Model Concession Agreement specifying duties, payoffs, and the contract duration with the private party, with a recommended 30-year concession period.
To ensure the success of PM-Ekta Malls, commercial spaces are allocated to all states and union territories, with districts participating based on consultations with relevant authorities. Private parties involved in mall operations will fill unoccupied spaces, ensuring a diverse range of ODOP products are showcased. States must maintain a class-leading visitor experience, with design guidelines in place for uniform quality.
States are encouraged to provide budgetary support for sellers from other regions and undertake measures to promote PM-Ekta Mall as tourist attractions and cultural hubs.
Immersive Experience Centers
Complementing the exhibition centres are immersive experience zones that offer visitors a sensory journey into the heart of each state and Union Territory. These centres go beyond the transactional aspect of shopping, providing an interactive and educational experience. Whether it's learning about the intricate process of weaving traditional textiles or witnessing the age-old techniques of pottery, the PM-Ekta Mall's experience centres aim to create lasting memories for visitors.
The Road Ahead
In conclusion, PM Ekta Mall stands not just as a retail space but as a symbol of India's cultural vibrancy and economic potential. As it ushers in a new era of retail, the mall encapsulates the essence of unity in diversity, bringing together the talents and traditions of every state and Union Territory.
Through strategic placement, meticulous curation, and a commitment to sustainable and technological excellence, the PM-Ekta Mall is set to redefine the retail landscape, leaving an indelible mark on India's cultural and economic tapestry.