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National retail policy will focus on ease of doing business: Ministry

The Commerce Ministry on Tuesday said the proposed National Retail Policy will focus on reducing compliance burden, enabling ease of doing business and digitisation of the retail sector.

Speaking at a CII event, Anil Agrawal, Joint Secretary, DPIIT, said the Commerce Ministry is fine-tuning a discussion paper in this respect which is focusing on key dimensions including ease of doing business for the retail sector. “It has been stated by many that if one wants to open a retail store, in some cases it requires 24 licences while in some other cases it requires 57 licences. So one of the basic efforts of the policy will be to reduce the compliance burden to make it easy to start the business as well to be able to continue operations,” he added.

Agarwal said the government has already taken a number of steps in the direction of undertaking regulatory reforms such as agricultural reforms in terms of the APMC Act and the Essential Commodities Act. “One of the key pillars of the policy will also be on how to enable digitisation of retail especially for small retailers and shopkeepers in rural regions. Digitisation has to go beyond digital payments and the focus also needs to be on digitisation of inventory management and enabling digital linkages with distributors,” he added. He said that upskilling of the retail traders will also be an important pillar of the national retail trade policy.

Job opportunities

“We are also conscious that the retail and e-commerce segments need to be looked at in an integral manner so that the entire ecosystem grows together,” Agarwal added.

Meanwhile, a CII-Kearney report stated that a cohesive national retail policy has the potential to generate 30 lakh additional jobs by 2024.

Shashwat Goenka, Chairman, CII National Committee on Retail & Sector and Head – Retail & FMCG, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, said, “A national retail policy needs to be rolled out with immediate effect that will bring all forms of retail under one umbrella. The key areas that the policy needs to pay attention to include ease of doing business, modernisation and adoption of technology, access to capital and employee upskilling. This will better aid the retail sector through trying times while creating an inclusive and holistic environment for the segment to thrive.”

The report recommended that the policy should also focus on streamlining of approval and compliance mechanisms for the sector, enabling rapid adoption of technology, modernisation of traditional retailers and bridging logistics and supply chain infrastructure gaps, the report recommended.-The Hindu Business Line

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