With the whole world hopping on the digitalisation bandwagon, why should India be left behind? Check out the government’s new initiative for empowering women who dare to dream big.

What is the Mahila e-Haat initiative?

Riding on the rapidly evolving wave of digitalisation and women empowerment, the Government of India recently launched a brilliant new online initiative called Mahila e-Haat. This woman-focused platform aims to empower businesswomen and female manufacturers across the country. It hopes many more women will be encouraged to pursue their dream of entrepreneurship. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Mahila e-Haat.

What is Mahila e-Haat?

Mahila e-Haat is an e-commerce website launched in March 2018. The online portal falls under the supervision and direction of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Women entrepreneurs across the country can access the website and showcase their products and offer other services. 

This first-of-its-kind initiative for women from the Central Government was launched by Maneka Gandhi, the then Union Minister of Women and Child Development. It aligns with the ‘Stand up India’ and ‘Digital India’ efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Whom does Mahila e-Haat hope to benefit? 

The initiative is being touted as a groundbreaking scheme in the vision of empowering the women of India. It will bring them more financial stability and independence by providing them with a platform where they can showcase their talent and hard work. 

This online platform received registration requests by over 1.25 lakh women and more than 10,000 self-help groups soon after it was launched. The initiative is designed to be easily accessible – one doesn’t even need a laptop or computer; registrants can manage their sales via a mobile phone. 

What does Mahila e-Haat entail?

Mahila e-Haat lets women showcase their products online, giving them access to a wider market. It is inclusive of different interest groups and types of products, such as clothing, pottery, jewellery, home decor, bags etc. Routine services like tailoring can be listed as well.

The platform hopes to inject more transparency into the system to benefit sellers as well as buyers. The website will serve as a platform where buyers and sellers can connect without any middlemen. A vendor can sell their products and services to a buyer, and the latter directly compensates the former.

How does Mahila e-Haat work?

Women and self-help groups need to register on the Mahila e-Haat website. They can then display their products, along with photographs, prices, other relevant details, and contact information of the manufacturer or seller. Potential buyers have the option to contact the sellers directly, via phone, email, or even in person, for any information regarding products or services. 

According to Maneka Gandhi, Mahila e-Haat is only the first stage of a very elaborate initiative. The minister plans to later integrate the website with other e-commerce portals so that manufacturers and entrepreneurs can reach more customers. Eventually, the project is expected to culminate in an institute called the Women’s Entrepreneurs Council. 

Who is eligible to sign up for Mahila e-Haat?

The initiative is open to only Indian citizens who fall under the following categories:

  • Women over the age of 18 
  • Female self-help groups
  • Women-led enterprises

Applicants will need to provide a mobile number, Aadhaar details, and a bank account to register on the portal. 

What are the terms and conditions under Mahila e-Haat program? 

Here are some things that entrepreneurs, sellers, and manufacturers should know: 

  • The products or services offered on the online portal must be legal. Smuggled goods or illegal services can result in legal action against the vendor. 
  • Vendors are solely responsible for the quality of products and services that they offer. They must ensure quality at all times. 
  • In case of any defects or damage in the products, it is the responsibility of the seller to deal with customer complaints.
  • The products can be displayed for a minimum period of 30 days. Moreover, if taken down from the website, they can be displayed again only after a gap of 30 days. 
  • It is the vendor’s duty to ensure the timely delivery of goods and services to the customer.
  • Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) plays a very important role in the initiative; it has the authority to approve or reject products and services that can be listed on the platform. 
  • RMK will intimate the vendors after approving their products or services. The vendors are then required to submit an acceptance letter and an undertaking. The products will go live on the website only after these formalities have been completed. 
  • All vendors need to abide by legal formalities and taxation rules of the country before making a sale outside of the country. 
  • Vendors must pay all taxes applicable to their category of products and services. 
  • RMK has the authority to change rules and eligibility conditions anytime, as they see fit. 
  • Vendors must maintain a record of all transactions, including sales and returns, that happen on the platform. These records should be sent to RMK on a quarterly basis.
  • The packaging of all products sold on Mahila e-Haat must contain its logo. 

To sum up

The Mahila e-Haat initiative comes as a respite to many women who have the talent but lacked the technical know-how and platform to showcase their products. It will make women financially secure and provide them with direction and focus. 

Mahila e-Haat is only a start. The second and third stages of the program will likely see many more women achieving their dreams of being self-reliant and financially independent. The initiative is also a brilliant way to encourage women to take up entrepreneurship, which is primarily considered a male-dominated role in our country. 

Financial freedom is very important for women. At the same time, it can mean different things for men and women. Find out why.