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Retail should be governed by one 'National Agency': ASSOCHAM
May '09
Over 95% of organized retailers have opposed retail sector being jointly regulated by Ministries of Commerce & Industry and Consumer Affairs, emphasizing that retail operations ought to be regulated by a Single National Agency to ensure harmonious co-existence of modern and traditional retailers.

In a note submitted to Department of Commerce, Consumer Affairs Ministry, Planning Commission and Finance Ministry, the ASSOCHAM has referred to its Survey based report Indian Retailing : The Way Forward which stresses that multiple governance agencies in retailing sector has caused confusion which needs to be eradicated.

While the Department of Commerce alone is responsible for making policies for retailing, their implementation is watched under Consumer Affairs Ministry. This causes distortions and ambiguities in growth of retail. Therefore, the ASSOCHAM has demanded that the retail sector should be governed by a Single Central authority that not only makes policies but ensures their proper implementation, said Its Secretary General, Mr. D S Rawat.

The ASSOCHAM report in which 150 established retailers views have been incorporated and sent to the identified departments, 135 have sought a comprehensive `National Retail Policy' under which retailing should be facilitated with only one nodal Ministry.

A vast majority of established retailers have alleged that FDI's element is in the hands of Commerce & Industry Ministry and Consumer Affairs Ministry regulates retailing in terms of taxes, licenses, legislation, Essential Commodities Act, Weight & Measurement Act. “It becomes extremely cumbersome to operate retailing function when two nodal Ministries are required to regulate the retailing. As this way, co-existence of modern and traditional retailing is impossible and therefore, an Independent Agency be put up to which the retailers can look for addressing their grievances under a suitable new National Retail Policy”, adds findings of ASSOCHAM Study.

35% of the domestic retailers pointed out lack of quality and trained manpower as one of the constraints in the growth of retail business in India. Lack of specialized personnel, shortage of educational institutes imparting formal training and lack of awareness among youth regarding career prospects in retail are cited as some of the obstacles being faced by the Indian Retail Industry.

Approximately 20 per cent of the respondents pointed out the need to analyze consumer data and buying habits and development of suitable marketing strategies in order to increase consumer purchasing at the outlet as one of the requirements of promoting organize retail growth.

Similarly, around 15 per cent of the retailers stressed on imparting formal training to retail personnel so as to upgrade their skills to match the international standards in retail business. Some other retailers said competitive pricing of the merchandise as well as investment and upgradation of technology has become important with India becoming a sourcing hub for international retailers.

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