A desi jugaad is helping India’s e-commerce boom cross over to neighbouring countries.
People in Bangladesh and Nepal are shopping on Indian e-commerce websites and leveraging migrant workers to get deliveries of their orders, according to a new World Bank paper.
“In many cases, networks of families and friends browse Indian websites and instruct a member of their social circle visiting India to make the purchase,” the report said. These people order online from Indian e-commerce platforms and carry the products back with them to their home countries.
Friends and family aside, informal agents like retailers along the border in cities such as Kolkata and Malda in West Bengal, make online purchases on behalf of Nepalese and Bangladeshi citizens for a small fee, the World Bank researchers found. They hold the item in their shop until the buyers pick it up.
Hordes of people travel across India’s borders frequently for healthcare, education, tourism (including religious tourism), and business. One in every five tourists in India is Bangladeshi—in 2017 alone, there were over 2.1 million of them. Over four million Nepalis, too, are studying and working in India.