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“Time for a separate Retail Ministry…”

By Retail4Growth Bureau | March 27, 2023

India Center for Policy Research and Governance (ICPRG) in association with METRO Cash & Carry India in collaboration organized the sixth edition of the Retail Samvad, titled - Future of Small Retail: Building enabling ecosystem for small retailers & MSMEs to make them future-ready’,  where the deliberations revolved around the changing paradigm of the retail sector.  

In line with the ongoing initiatives to support MSMEs and small retailers in country, India Center for Policy Research and Governance (ICPRG) in association with METRO Cash & Carry India in collaboration organized the sixth edition of the Retail Samvad, titled - Future of Small Retail: Building enabling ecosystem for small retailers & MSMEs to make them future-ready. The deliberations revolved around the changing paradigm of the retail sector with the influx of new-age technologies and digitization and how the sector can assist India to realize its ambition of becoming a 5 trillion-dollar economy.

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Inaugurating the event, Gopal Krishna Agarwal, BJP National Spokesperson, and UP BJP Executive Member commented, “The government believes that both entrepreneurship and self-employment are extremely crucial considering the overall contribution of MSMEs to the Indian economy. The Government has been seeking suggestions from stakeholders for formulating the logistics policy, e-commerce policy, and retail trade policy to create a more enabling system for the ecosystem. In the latest budget, the government has removed 39000 compliance requirements, repealed over 1500 redundant laws, and decriminalized over 3400 laws that were creating hindrances in the growth of MSMEs in the country.”

Commenting on the enabling environment for evolving retail businesses, Lalit Agarwal, MD, V-Mart said, ”The retail industry is currently undergoing a disruption of sorts. Consumer behavior is continuously evolving and that is where small retailers are facing problems. First, retailers are facing roadblocks when it comes to keeping pace with fast-changing consumer preferences. Secondly, retailers are also finding it difficult to manage costs as margins are often minuscule. The Government is undertaking a lot of measures but much more needs to be done in the retail space. Further, India is currently not consuming and that will only change, once per capita incomes increase in the coming years.”

Speaking about the retail sector, Arvind Mediratta, MD & CEO of METRO Cash & Carry India, said, “The retail industry has witnessed many seminal events like Demonetization, GST, pandemic in the past couple of years which has boosted the digital economy. Kiranas have been resilient and have modernized into Smart kiranas by adopting digital tools to source supplies more efficiently; digitize their inventories; communicate with customers better; and reimagine the look and feel of their stores. Modernizing and digitalizing operations of small retailers will make them future ready. Hence, the Government needs to ensure easier access to loans under the PM Mudra scheme to facilitate the digitalization and modernization of the sector.”

“It is crucial that the government considers providing an industry status to the retail sector and creating a separate Retail ministry to address the pertinent issues faced by the sector to enhance ease of doing business. We need quick on-ground implementation of the recommendations suggested in the interest of small retailers and MSMEs. A robust and uniform National Retail Policy will also provide the requisite level-playing field for both online and offline retailers, which will help in accelerating the growth of the entire ecosystem,” he added

Speaking about the retail sector, Arvind Mediratta, MD & CEO of METRO Cash & Carry India, said, “The retail industry has witnessed many seminal events like Demonetization, GST, pandemic in the past couple of years which has boosted the digital economy. Kiranas have been resilient and have modernized into Smart kiranas by adopting digital tools to source supplies more efficiently; digitize their inventories; communicate with customers better; and reimagine the look and feel of their stores. Modernizing and digitalizing operations of small retailers will make them future ready. Hence, the Government needs to ensure easier access to loans under the PM Mudra scheme to facilitate the digitalization and modernization of the sector.”

“It is crucial that the government considers providing an industry status to the retail sector and creating a separate Retail ministry to address the pertinent issues faced by the sector to enhance ease of doing business. We need quick on-ground implementation of the recommendations suggested in the interest of small retailers and MSMEs. A robust and uniform National Retail Policy will also provide the requisite level-playing field for both online and offline retailers, which will help in accelerating the growth of the entire ecosystem,” he added.

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