When the entire retail fraternity is praying for 100 per cent FDI norms in multi-brand retail and an ease of doing business ecosystem in the retailing segment in the country, Andhra Pradesh Government has introduced a revolutionary retail trade policy.
The said government has unveiled a new retail trade policy, under which retail enterprises are given greater flexibility in terms of open hours, engaging part-time employees, and removal of stock limits for essential commodities, among others. Considered to be the first-of-its-kind policy in the country to have attempted by any state, the policy also offers various incentives and the ease of doing business applicable to other sectors.
As per the policy, retail enterprises can stay open seven days a week from 6 am to 11 pm, can employ people on an hourly basis, however, the number of workers should not exceed 25 per cent of the total employees of the firm. The policy also have brought relief to retail chains who can now onwards can generate customer bills in an electronic form instead of giving them the physical bills.
Moreover, the distribution centres and warehouses of the retail enterprises are not only allowed to function on a 24/7 basis, they are also declared ‘public utility’ under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, to prevent strikes.
1. The policy seeks to attract Rs 5,000 crore-investment in the retail sector by 2020
2. It offers various incentives and the ease of doing business applicable to other sectors
3. Retail enterprises can stay open seven days a week from 6 am to 11 pm
4. People can be employed on an hourly basis
5. The number of workers should not exceed 25 per cent of the total employees of the firm
Additionally, the policy has extended the existing ‘single desk policy of approvals’ for all small to big sized retail brands. It has also been reported investment from major retail brands including Walmart, Future Group, Spencer’s and Arvind who have signed MoU to invest Rs 1,500 crore in Andhra Pradesh with a total commitment to provide 25,000 new jobs in the retail space.
The new policy will be valid for five years from the date of notification and has brought cheers among retailers. Sharing details on the same development, Krish Iyer, President & CEO, Walmart India said, “In Andhra, we already have three Cash & Carry stores (Vijayawada, Rajamundhry and Guntur). AP is one of the very important growth regions for us and we are working to strengthen our footprints in the State by opening several more of our Cash & Carry stores to cater to our business members such as small kiranas and other small businesses. In addition, we are also strengthening our direct farm program to source from farmers, partnering with Society of Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) to help women SHGs and other women owned businesses, sourcing from small & medium suppliers locally and help create thousands of local jobs in the State.
Acknowledging it as a memorable occasion for entire retail industry in India, Biyani stated, "Andhra Pradesh's Retail Trade Policy is a new beginning and a good start for the retailers."
On the occasion, Kumar Rajagopalan from RAI said, “This is a big moment for retail in the country as state governments have now begun to see the importance of retail to their growth. Andhra Pradesh, lead by its visionary Chief Minister Shri. Chandrababu Naidu, has once again taken the initiative to herald a new era in retail in the state - a welcome step towards ease of doing business. We feel this is just the beginning of good things to come for Indian retail.”