Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Aug 31, 2005
E-Commerce & E-Business
Info-Tech - E-Commerce & E-Business
TTD to log on to e-commerce for procurements
Kochi , Aug. 30
SIX months after the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD) got onto the national and international commodity highway, Tirupati is becoming increasingly technology savvy and e-commerce friendly.
The introduction of JRG Wealth Management Company's commodity futures terminal at Tirupati gave an on-line price reference mechanism to the second richest temple township in the world, next only to the Vatican.
Now, TTD is planning to tap the fruits of e-commerce further by publishing their purchase and sales tenders on the Internet through eprocurement.gov.in, the joint venture procurement platform between the Andhra Pradesh Government and a private sector consortium led by Commerce 1 India.
This is expected to give a fillip to eprocurement.gov.in which was started in June 2002 and has been gaining currency in the market with the value of tenders published on the portal jumping from Rs 8,636 crore last quarter of 2004 to Rs 33,352 crore in second quarter of 2005.
"With a foodgrain and agricultural commodity procurement bill running into Rs 300-400 crore every year, the temple will be making tremendous gains by pursuing the e-commerce highway. Even a ten per cent saving on this bill would imply a saving of Rs 30-40 crore every year," Ms Anitha Shah Akella, Chief Accounts Officer of TTD, said.
TTD plans to route their procurement and sales through the e-commerce platform over and above the newspapers. With an array of social service institutions to feed, food-schemes for devotees and pilgrims, food-based charity programmes as well as the daily demand for prasadam, the temple trust has a huge demand for food and agricultural commodities everyday.
"With the introduction of JRG's commodity futures terminal, we have been able to plan and streamline our procurement policies in tune with the changing moods of the market. We are better equipped to enter and exit the market at the most appropriate time with the access to the futures prices.
"It has also helped us to plan better and stagger our purchases into annual, half-yearly, quarterly or even to monthly cycles, as per the market conditions," Mr Nageswara Rao, Member of TTD Board of Trustees said.
However, TTD plans to take the commodity futures market and price discovery mechanism further by supplementing their real-time purchases and sales through the Internet.
"We would like to access more of delivery-based trading through the commodity exchanges. The necessity of the central warehousing facilities being in close proximity and assured quality standards and specifications are the two major handicaps at present.
"We hope that the huge demand from the temple town proves an incentive for the commodity exchanges to set up warehousing facility in the neighbourhood and for more of delivery-based trading to become a reality," Mr Rao added.
TTD ascertains the prices of an array of commodities such as pepper, spices, sugar, groundnut oil, rice, cardamom, cashew etc on a daily basis.
Though the procurement budget might be higher this year, TTD had been getting more realistic pricing in their tenders and quotations, Mr Rao said. The terminal had also taught the temple trust to synchronise the tender to the most opportune market conditions. Currently, the temple township depends on around 30 major suppliers for all their procurement and sales requirements.
Their entry into e-commerce is poised to widen audience further - of both buyers and sellers.
"It is the transparency in trade which has been the hallmark for commodity futures and e-commerce. Delivery-based trading would be next stop for Tirupati Devasthanam on the commodity-trading highway. But they will realise the full potential of e-commerce only when the Government of Andhra Pradesh permits them to trade in the 8000-odd kg of gold in their possession," Mr Giby Mathew, Managing Director of JRG Associates said.
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