New Delhi: Ahead of the upcoming union Budget, retailers' body RAI on Friday urged the government for formulation and implementation of national retail policy and let retailers to register under MSMEs to get benefits, saying the industry needs support after almost being squashed during the coronavirus pandemic. The USD 854 billion Indian retail sector was one of the worst impacted due to the pandemic. Its ripple effects were felt by all stakeholders down the consumption value chain. Recovery will need unconventional solutions and government support, Retailers Association of India (RAI) said in a statement.
At this juncture, all efforts are required to boost the local economy and help revive retail, saving millions of jobs. Budget 2021-22 will play a key role in this, it said adding that consumption drives the economy, and retail is the gateway to consumption. "The retail business is recovering at a quick pace and this momentum needs to be sustained. The next budget must prioritise growth-oriented policies and measures for the same," RAI said.
The Union Budget for 2021-22 is slated to be presented on February 1. On the budget expectations, RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said the retail industry was almost squashed during the pandemic. It is slowly getting back on its feet with the opening up of the economy. "To get this crawling industry back to its feet and start running, we believe that the budget should address two main things that will bring in 'Ease of Doing Business' for retailers; freedom from various procedural strangleholds and access to funds necessary for growth." RAI said apart from various direct and indirect taxes (GST) recommendations, it has suggested the government to consider acceleration of "the formulation and implementation of the National Retail Policy to boost the retail sector and facilitate ease of doing business." It also urged the centre to "allow retailers to register under MSME so that retailers too can be entitled for all benefits available to MSMEs", while asking to encourage states to adopt Model Shops and Establishment Act. Further, RAI asked the government to modify or extend the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana Scheme to include financial support for digitalisation to kiranas and small retailers.