India Post is Accelerating Small Business Export Game in UP

Dak Niryat Kendras (DNK), set up by India Post in major cities across Uttar Pradesh, help small businesses export their products to overseas markets, saving money and eliminating middlemen.

As of now, the facility will be provided by India Post in nine cities – Lucknow, Varanasi, Pilibhit, Allahabad, Noida, Saharanpur, Nagina, Mahoba and Ghazipur.

Intended for commercial exports by MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises), the service has increased revenue for small businesses, including those operating under the Government of Uttar Pradesh’s One District, One Product (ODOP) program.

The DNKs in Prayagraj and Varanasi – both located in the economically backward east of Uttar Pradesh – have also received positive feedback from local businesses.

Ravindra Kumar, a third-generation Kaleen carpet maker based in Prayagraj, was on the verge of quitting his traditional job and closing his shop when his business was hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

“Back then, the only option was to export our goods abroad, especially to the American and European markets. But the export costs via private exporters were high and the process cumbersome. DNKs solved that problem for us,” he said.

Kumar now books his carpets for commercial export with the local DNK. The rugs are then taken to India Post’s Foreign Post Office (FPO) in Delhi before export.

Kumar does not have to visit an office and follows the movement of his carpets online. India Post officials say the DNK has become an empowering service for small businesses with the active involvement of Union Minister for Railways and Communications Ashwini Vaishnav.

Vivek Kumar Daksh, Postmaster General HQ Region, Lucknow said: “The foreign post offices are linked to the Customs Department, which simplifies the process of clearing goods through customs. If there is a problem with customs, it will be reported online for the businessman to track.” “Previously, exporters had to visit foreign post offices with limited FPOs to file PBE (Postal Bill of Export), which was difficult for people in remote locations was. With digital solutions, exporters can submit PBE online, which saves time and money,” he added.

The system has also helped remove the private exporters and customs brokers who used to play the role of middlemen and took a large chunk of small business profits.

Parvez Alam from Pratapgarh, who runs a small wooden toy business and exports them with DNK, said: “After switching to DNKs from private exporters, we save almost 30 percent on our costs. We intend to use this money to grow our business.” Considering that most customers using DNK are small businesses with limited technological know-how, the Postal Department has deployed trained Dak Niryat Sahayaks to assist artisans and MSME exporters the use of the DNK portal.

“These Dak Niryat Sahayaks also provide information on the process of GST registration, import-export code generation, listing of products including ODOP/GI tags on e-commerce portals and booking, etc.,” said the official.

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