By Dinesh K. Tyagi, CEO-CSC SPV
One of the challenges for delivery of products by various FMCG companies and new e-commerce companies in rural India is the logistic issues. Seventy percent of the rural population has not been able to get the advantage of products and services, besides discounts which the e-commerce companies offer. With the existence of more than three lakh CSCs – an alternative channel to address the logistic issues has emerged. Today, CSCs are engaged in supporting the rural populace and making available various products and services such as mobile phones, computer parts, FMCG goods and agri products (seeds, fertilisers etc). The CSC VLE Society at the district-level plays an important role in enabling the delivery of these products to consumers.
All VLEs at the district-level are forming a co-operative society. Each VLE is becoming the member of the society. The society, besides providing support to each one of the members, helps in advocacy of the various programmes and schemes of the Government. The society helps each of the members to place order for various goods, procure them and organise its distribution. This arrangement is evolving as a viable and effective model for meeting the logistic and other requirements for FMCG and other companies to reach the rural market. The demand gets aggregated at the district-level and the supply is also made at the district-level to the society premises. From the society premises, the VLE either picks up the material or the society organises to deliver the same at the VLE location. Once stabilised, this model can revolutionize the delivery and reach of products to rural consumers. Villagers need not travel to urban or semi urban location for purchases as they can buy all the goods through CSCs. They will also be able to get the benefit of various discounts and incentives offered by e-commerce companies.
Some of the CSC VLE Societies have been organising campaigns such as Swachh Bharat, plastic free areas and even helping persons affected by various calamities (flood). They have been organising events to promote various services being delivered to citizens. Many have even opened Help Desk to resolve various issues of the VLEs, besides providing technical support. The VLE Society of course needs to become financially viable for taking up all such activities. There is incentive in delivery of various products to CSC VLE Society and this will increase as the number of products available and ordered enhance significantly. With the growth of business, the district level society might need to open branches at the block level.
The concept of district level society will also promote the co-operative federalism principle which is the essence of the CSC movement. Training and capacity building of the CSC VLE Society will be a continuous effort on the part of CSC SPV. It will be CSC’s effort to get the best deal from the companies who want to use this platform for supply of goods and services. CSC SPV also needs to ensure that services such as AMC and warranty by all such companies are assigned to the CSC VLE Society which will create employment generation and provide technical skills to the society employee / VLE.
It is true that all the major companies are looking at Indian rural market but not able to address the logistic and infrastructure issues in an effective manner. CSC VLE Society model will be a game changer and benefit all the stakeholders, especially the rural consumer. VLEs can play a significant role in supporting them. Any company in India which wants to sell its products and services to rural market will have to look at the CSC District Society and the vast network of CSCs in India. firstname.lastname@example.org