Defence canteens gear up for e-commerce, MSMEs see rosy days ahead

The e-commerce move is expected to boost MSMEs, as they form a big chunk of CSD’s business partners

With the Union government working towards activating e-commerce facilities at its Canteen Stores Department (CSD) for online purchase of the goods by its beneficiaries associated with the defence services, it is being foreseen that MSMEs stand to benefit a lot in the days to come.

Going by a statement made by Major General Y.P. Khanduri, General Manager of CSD, operating under the Ministry of Defence, a meeting of the CSD Board on July 1 will almost finalise the move to set up the digital platform even as the 34 brick-and-mortar depots will continue to function as usual.

MSMEs stand to benefit from CSD e-commerce plan

The move will boost MSMEs, as micro, small and medium industries form a chunk of CSD’s business partners, numbering 251 out of the total 555.

The move to let CSD outlets simultaneously go online comes in the wake of two years of Covid-19 that restricted physical movements and left a long backlog in supplies, the senior military officer said at the business-to-business meet organized in Kochi by the Kerala Department of Industries and Commerce.

Social distancing protocols that came in since the spread of the pandemic in March 2020 inconvenienced military personnel and pensioners totalling 45 lakh across the country. They could not appear at the canteens. The upcoming e-commerce facility will enable CSD cardholders to buy groceries and other general items from the defence canteens. The platform is expected to cater to the beneficiaries across India and the e-bookings will be accepted round the clock.

CSD doesn’t sell commodities with shelf-life of less than 6 months

The canteens, which typically sell FMCG items, household requisites, watches and stationeries, food and medicines besides liquor and general items, are set for a timely streamlining so as to quicken disbursal of undelivered orders, Maj Gen Khanduri said, throwing light on CSD with 2,000 people on its payrolls while giving indirect employment to 10,000 others.

Pointing out that CSD does not supply items that require freezer storage, as the goods have also reach the farthest parts of the country, he said that also why CSD doesn’t sell commodities with a shelf-life of less than six months. He cited reasonable price backed by strict financial control and efficient supply-chain management as the highlights of the canteens.

The new move could be of help to MSMEs in Kerala in a big way, as around 14,000 MSME units have been registered in Kerala so far during 2022-23. The government will also be disbursing over Rs 100 crore as subsidy in the current financial year.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The New Indian Express, MSN India, PanAsiaBiz. Sanjeev can be reached at [email protected]

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