The Government in Favor of Single Retail Policy
The government has assured around the top 30 retailers of the country which includes names like Future, Walmart, Godrej Nature’s Basket, and Trent, of speedy resolves regarding the doubts surrounding the current retail environment. The companies have been assured that the government’s stand in this regard is clear and it intends to prioritize and focus on addressing all such issues and speculations.
This assurance was personally given by Amitabh Kant, secretary of Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), in a meeting held in strict privacy as part of the ongoing meet of the India Retail Forum on Wednesday.
In the concerned meeting, Kant put emphasis on the importance of a single retail policy in order to mow down what the retailers have termed as an ‘inordinate attention to a single channel of distribution, notably e-commerce’.“There should be no discrimination between single brand, multi-brand, or e-commerce companies; instead, there should be a single retail policy. These are legacy issues from the past, which we understand and recognize. All of you should also push for it”, Kant added to his address of chief executives (CEOs) over video conferencing from his office in New Delhi.
The retailers under the leadership of Krish Iyer, president and also the CEO of Walmart India, pointed toward the non-attribution of retail as industry status identity, which acts as a stumbling block at the state level for land availability provisions, acquiring finance from the banks, this situation is more peculiar for small and regional players, in addition to the provision of electricity and other state facilities at sensible rates and tariff.
Kant promised that all such issues will be addressed in the upcoming inter-ministerial meeting of states. “Please put the top six issues down and send it to me, so that we can find a solution”, Kant said.
Kishore Biyani, the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Future Group appreciated the attitude of the Maharashtra government by leading the way to introduce a draft retail policy to attend to the apprehensions of retail players. In a similar move the retailers under the guidance of the Retailers Association of India, a top association of Indian retailers, are required to draft and prepare a position paper for DIPP highlighting the points of issue of the sector.
Kant appeared all willing and in full support of the retail sector, and said he believed that the sector has the potential to contribute towards the growth story of the country in a meaningful way by creating job opportunities at the local stage, but he also kept himself at bay from the heated debate of online versus offline sector.
“In a country, where there are 950 million mobile phones, there is no way the intervention of technology can be halted or e-commerce companies stopped. Instead, if brick-and-mortar retailers adopt technology, specifically mobile telephony, this will aid them in making the shift and catch consumers where they are”, added Kant.
There is no denying the fact that e-commerce has indeed created a powerful distribution network in the country, one that is potent enough to disturb and threaten offline business models. A recent study conducted by ASSOCHAM in collaboration with Deloitte revealed that the net worth of the e-commerce sector will be nearly quadrupled in five years time from $4.4 billion in 2010 to $16 billion by the year-end of 2015.
Meanwhile, offline retailers are not refraining from including an omnichannel strategy to provide a seamless shopping experience to customers to tackle the intimidation caused by online retail, but many still believe that the government should have a more active say towards governing e-commerce firms.