By Faiz Askari, Editor SMESTreet
Why does Indian taxations and trade policies are fluctuating state to state? It’s a million dollar question, in fact to be honest more than a million dollar question. While the Retail trade in India has reached an annual turnover of USD 560 billion, it is still governed under the Shop and Establishment Act. Retailers Association of India has emphasised the need for a national policy on trade for retail.
While certain states such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh evinced interest for creating a Retail Policy, the other States should also take the initiative, commented an Industry insider.
Everyone, from the policy making side, talks about single window. But the ground realty remains that there is no single window clearance mechanism been set up as yet for those wanting to start a retail establishment.
Any new retailer who opt to become a retailer, has to get 50 different clearances such as for power, shop floor, business license etc. A nodal ministry and some nodal officers to do these checks would go a long way of ease of doing business in India. All of this pile up as a pressure bucket and the concept of ease of doing business remains a thought.
There are over 12 million retail outlets in the country. However, the Retailers Association of India, the apex body of the sector has only about 1,000 members. The highly dis-organised operation of the trade is a reason for its invisibility to the policy makers. Even when it is a large employer, particularly of women coming from low income groups, the Retail sector is not recognised by the Government. Globally. Retail trade is a major component of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). But in India it is kept out of the legal environment of the SME Development Act. Retail trade is also not eligible for any support mechanism like cheap finance.
A Retail Trade Policy may address the above issues and provide a basis for the development and governance of the sector.
Industry is bleeding and a strong retail policy can solve many issues and make the retailer happy and he or she in return can make our economy happy. As a matter of fact, retailers are the most important element of economic value chain.