Sellers push for faster rollout of National Retail Policy

NEW DELHI: Retailers are once again fighting for a faster rollout of India’s National Retail Policy hoping it will create a level playing field for small sellers, give them access to credit and help big ones organized retailers with faster approvals.

“We have worked with all retailers to develop a national retail policy that is acceptable to all stakeholders. E-commerce players, modern commerce as well as small mom-pop stores. A (draft) policy was proposed, but for some reason implementation did not occur. Our request to the government, through this forum, is to expedite the adoption of this policy and the formalization of this policy,” said Arvind Mediratta, MD & CEO, Metro Cash & Carry India and President, Retail & Internal Trade Committee, FICCI at an event organized by the industry body FICCI on Friday.

In December last year, the Department of Commerce said a draft National Retail Policy had been prepared to streamline retailing and the development of all formats in the industry.

The draft policy aims to improve the ease of doing business by ensuring easy and quick access to affordable credit, facilitating the modernization and digitalization of retail by promoting modern technology and superior infrastructural support, the development of physical infrastructure throughout the retail distribution chain, promoting skills development and to improve labor productivity, creating large-scale employment opportunities, providing an effective consultation mechanism and grievance redress for the retail sector, for the well-being of merchants and their employees, he said.

However, the policy still needs to be firmed up and rolled out based on industry consultations.

Mediratta said various industry bodies have made representations to various government agencies. “The project is ready, however, the industry has little clarity on the rollout of the policy,” he said on the sidelines of the event.

India’s retail market is largely unorganized. According to a 2020 report by industry body CII and consulting firm Kearney, a number of laws, compounded by variations in state-level implementation, create immense complexity for retailers, especially those who have a pan-Indian imprint. It is therefore imperative for retailers to ensure that a comprehensive pan-India policy is in place.

“If you want to start a store in organized retail, you probably have to knock on doors with 40 different authorities. There could be one-stop clearance, some states like Telangana have actually adopted it, but it needs to be adopted across the country,” Mediratta said.

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