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Indian government’s railway ticketing site Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has joined hands with online retailer for its planned ecommerce platform, according to a new report.

The Indian Railway Catering Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been gearing up to take on a larger chunk of the growing online retail business by selling mobile phones, books, footwear and other merchandise online.

Manmohan Agarwal, CEO & Co-founder at declined to comment on the development. He said that talks were on and an official announcement is expected sometime next week.

The Indian Railway’s subsidiary which recently launched its SMS based ticketing service, was looking for a white label solution partner to manage its back-end operations, the report said.

IRCTC Online Tender
IRCTC Online Tender

As per the agreement the partnering firm will develop a user interface, supply chain and logistics among other things. IRCTC had floated a tender for the Rs 1000 cr project. E-commerce player Infibeam had also bid for the contract. In 2011, Infibeam partnered with Gujarat govt to enable their rural e-commerce initiative “Vishwagram Bazaar”.

While the e-commerce company will be responsible to build and manage the platform it is not clear if the company will also be responsible for inventory. Three months ago,  Yebhi raised $12 Mn in a bridge round also pivoting to a marketplace model.

The rail ticketing company says that it has 2 cr registered users, twice that of Flipkart. An e-commerce platform will surely help it to monetize this user base. IRCTC was planning to invest Rs 100 cr to upgrade its existing infrastructure to handle more tickets.

On an average, more than 4 lakh tickets are booked on the site every day. Redirecting this growing user base to an e-commerce portal can generate huge revenues helping IRCTC to monetize the infrastructure cost .While the partnership is hugely beneficial to Yebhi, should IRCTC get into the business before it fixes its core business of ticketing (read : Famous IRCTC Jokes)?

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