The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in a report on Tuesday said that the government should consider permitting 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail trade. It further suggested improving ease of doing business for the sector to promote growth in the segment. The report was jointly prepared by the industry chamber and AT Kearney. These suggestions are part of a national retail policy released by CII.
The report said that to overcome the barriers and enable a smooth growth and harmonious coexistence of traditional and modern retail, the government needs to adopt a single cohesive national retail policy, which adequately addresses all the concern areas. The policy has suggested several steps, like strengthening labour laws by regularising policies around part-time labour; ensure greater participation of women in the workforce; and review food safety policies to update archaic laws governing stocking limits, weights and measures, labeling, and taxes on expired food items.
It also asked for decreasing real estate constraints for retail expansion by creating dedicated retail special economic zones as well as simplify regulations and real estate approvals for kiranas to expand their stores. The government should encourage modernisation of traditional retail by subsidising these retailers to adopt technology, the report said.
Although, the current foreign direct investment policy permits overseas players to hold 51 per cent stake in an Indian retail company, the BJP in its election manifesto had opposed overseas investment in the retail segment.