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E-commerce driving India’s SME growth

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New Delhi:  The surge of e-commerce in India is driving the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which in turn is contributing to new job opportunities and GDP contribution, a recent study shows.

The study, jointly conducted by domestic e-commerce player Snapdeal and market research firm KPMG, which also claimed that e-commerce sector in India is projected to cross $80 billion by 2020, examined the macro-impact of the sector on the growth of SMEs and identified remaining gaps in the ecosystem that needed to be plugged.

As per the report, 85 percent of SMEs who adopted e-coommerce believe that it is a cost effective medium for sales growth. The study also claimed that SMEs who actively adopt the internet for business activities boast 51 percent higher revenues, which results in 49 percent more profit and a seven percent broader consumer base than their offline counterparts.”At Snapdeal, we are working towards building the most impactful digital commerce ecosystem in the country and SMEs form the foundation of this ecosystem in many ways,” Kunal Bahl, co-founder and chief executive of Snapdeal said.

“With over 200,000 sellers operating on our platform, we felt the need to conduct a systematic unbiased study to identify opportunities and challenges to further accelerate the growth of the sector.”

“We have taken a number of initiatives like seller training programmes, seller financing programmes – Capital Assist and Snapdeal Seller Advisor Programme, with an aim of creating life changing experiences for over one million sellers in the next three years. This study has given us deeper insights into what more we can do to enable small businesses become more successful online,” he added.

The study also highlighted the importance of SMEs in the country which accounted for over 17 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014 and contributed to 45 percent of the nation’s industrial output and 40 percent of the total exports.

It also claimed that SMEs are capable of creating 1.3 million jobs per year.

“The fast paced growth of the e-commerce industry in India represents an unprecedented opportunity for SMEs. We hope that the findings of this report will assist policymakers, industry bodies and e-commerce companies to strengthen the support ecosystem, which enables SMEs to ride the e-commerce growth wave successfully,” Richard Rekhy, chief executive of KPMG India, said.

Snapdeal also said that it is aiming to disburse Rs.1,000 crore by the end of the year under its seller financing programmes.

“We have zero non-performing assets (NPA) under the programme,” Bahl added.

(IANS)

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)

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