The Indian retail sector is one of the largest in the world. As per the reports, the industry is worth an estimated value of almost US$ 900 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to US$ 1.7 trillion by 2026. However, despite the mammoth size of the industry, it is sad to point out that it is rather unorganized in structure. A report by CII has stated that if the government provides sufficient support, the Indian retail industry will be eligible to create 3 million additional jobs by the year 2024. Given the unemployment data of the country and the fact that the country is still reeling under covid crisis, this is huge. Not only jobs but this step will boost the country to move faster towards the goal of a US$ 5 trillion economy.
Over the years the government has announced several packages for the MSME sector, but retail is not included in this sector and therefore cannot utilize it. And presently, it is very clear that the lack of a uniform retail policy from the government is stunting the growth of the industry. Retailers face obstacles in every step starting from the starting of a business, gaining permits from multiple authorities and even lack of funds to begin or expand. Keeping all these in mind, it can be safely said that the country is in a dire need of a uniform retail policy for the industry to grow to its full potential.
WHAT ISSUES THE NEW POLICY IS EXPECTED TO SOLVE
The difficulty of operation– At the present scenario where there is no singular authority, much of the difficulty lies in starting up and operating a retail business because permits and licenses need to be secured from multiple authorities and that too pretty unstructured. The new policy is expected to resolve this issue by providing a single-window clearance mechanism to smoothen out the process.
Difficulty in raising funds- Once the new policy brings the much-needed structure to the retail industry and ease out the licensing process, raising funds will only get easier as investors will find more security for their money invested in the sector with better chances of returns.
Stunted technological up-gradation- With the availability of the fund and support from the government, the industry can implement and upgrade in the technological front. With the upsurge of digital technology in the covid era, the sector if supported well can reap great benefits.
Stunted skill development- Skill development among the employees at present is the most ignored segment of the retail industry and the cause is the businesses are busy keeping up with licensing clearances and unavailability of enough funds. Once these issues get resolved, the skill development and employment scope of the retail sector will be manifold.
Reforms in consumer demand- The government also needs to create more favourable policies to revive consumer demand and create positive sentiment in their new policy. Not only regaining the retailer’s confidence but also gaining the consumers’ confidence is the very need of the hour.
India is already an upgrade mode and getting reforms in every sector. Now it’s turning for the retail sector to get its own.