A consortium of Indian FMCG firms – including Procter & Gamble, ITC, Hindustan Unilever and Nestle – is partnering with the government to help convert neighbourhood suraksha stores into sanitised, professional retail operations throughout the country.
The move will see millions of traditional “kirana” outlets re-emerge as registered “suraksha” stores with listings on the administration’s Aarogya app, identifying them for implementing social distancing and proper sanitisation practices including the use of masks and gloves.
The first million stores are expected to undergo the transition within 45 days, with 100,000 already in process.
“This voluntary effort is a welcome development,” said consumer affairs ministry secretary Pawan Agarwal in an Economic Times report. “Presently, on a pilot basis, 12 companies have taken this forward and over a lakh outlets have already been registered.”
More than 75 Indian companies have indicated interest in joining the consortium, which is being called the Coalition of Responsible Enterprises (CoRE) against Covid-19. Each of the FMCG companies involved have been assigned states.
“As an industry, we will scale the initiative across the entire supply chain, community and consumer-facing last-mile delivery, besides following robust certified training processes, to contain the spread of Covid-19,” said P&G India CEO Madhusudan Gopalan.
“This is a pathbreaking initiative by the consumer affairs ministry to convert the neighbourhood kirana stores into sanitised retail outlets selling daily essentials,” said Dabur India CEO Mohit Malhotra. “We are also extending this to cover Ayurveda outlets across India.”