Government to sort out compensation issues for early GST roll-out: FM Arun Jaitley
Government to sort out compensation issues for early GST roll-out: FM Arun Jaitley
NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Centre would sort out compensation issues with states to ensure early roll-out of Goods and Service Tax, a new indirect tax regime that will subsume various levies.
 
After meeting state finance ministers, he said there is a broad consensus on implementing the GST regime and efforts will be made to sort out the pending issues, especially with regard to compensation for loss of revenue.
 
"Fixing compensation issue is critical to roll-out of GST," Jaitley said.
 
Briefing the media about the meeting, Minister of State for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman said it was difficult to give a timeframe for introduction of the new tax regime, but "it (the constitutional amendments) will happen soon".
 
"Discussions are intensive and in friendly atmosphere. We are definitely progressing on the issue of GST. We are moving towards greater consensus. That gives me a hope that GST would be sorted out sooner. Of course, we are in better position from where we have started," she said.
 
The government is looking at the compensation part which has been an issue of concern for all the states, she added.
 
"(This) is an issue, with due respect, we have inherited and we would like to work on, we are sorting out," she said.
 
When asked if Centre gave any assurance to states on compensation, she said: "We are talking with a completely open mind and we have not given any commitment either way for anything."
 
Earlier in the day, Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers and senior officials of the central government had met separately to brainstorm on different aspects of the GST, including compensation to state governments for their revenue loss due to halving of Central Sales Tax (CST) to 2 per cent.
 
The long pending tax reform, GST would subsume indirect levies such as excise, service and local taxes, has been highlighted as important agenda of Modi government.
 
Sitharaman said some of the states demanded inclusion of GST compensation in the Constitution Amendment Bill for introduction of the new indirect tax regime.
 
"Few states have also asked about keeping petrol and entry tax out of GST but large issue is how are they going to get compensation...," she added.
 
 
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How The Organic World's Pledge to Reach 100 Stores in 18 Months will Disrupt India’s Retail Landscape
How The Organic World's Pledge to Reach 100 Stores in 18 Months will Disrupt India’s Retail Landscape
 

In 2017, The Organic World (TOW), sprouted as the green heart of Nimida Group in Bengaluru, sowing the seeds of sustainability to cultivate positive change in our way of life. Founded by Gaurav Manchanda, Director, The Organic World, this unique brand strives to offer a holistic range of organic and natural products. From pesticide-free fruits and vegetables to chemical-free homecare products, TOW provides consumers with over 3000 choices to embrace a healthier, cleaner, and more sustainable lifestyle.

The Genesis of TOW

Gaurav, during his return to India from the United States in 2016, identified a gap in the market for healthy and organic food options. Motivated by a personal quest for such products and a desire to offer the same to a wider audience, The Organic World was born in 2017. Starting with the launch of its first store in JP Nagar, Bengaluru, TOW quickly expanded. Today it has 15 stores across Bengaluru, and is exploring the franchise model and the plan is to steadily expand TOW’s footprint across South India.

“Our journey is only getting started. We plan to expand up to 100 stores over the next 18 months, and exploring cities like Chennai, Pune, and more,” he says.

TOW positions itself as a multi-brand retailer, hosting products that are not only organic but also differentiated, providing better value to customers as they journey towards a healthier lifestyle. The stores boasts a comprehensive product range, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, staples, personal care items, and home care products. The presentation of these stores is world-class, ensuring a unique and engaging shopping experience.

Innovative Retailing

Gaurav sheds light on TOW's commitment to responsible retailing, focusing on three core pillars: authenticity, accessibility, and affordability. The company enforces a rigorous vetting process for products, maintaining transparency by publicly listing 25 blacklisted ingredients and chemicals not allowed on their shelves. This disruptive approach challenges the industry to prioritize healthier and sustainable products. TOW has created a strict ‘Not In Our Aisle’ list – a list of chemicals and harmful ingredients that do not find a spot on its store shelves, despite their industry popularity. This includes ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener, found in soda, juice, candy, breakfast cereals and packaged snacks; artificial flavorings/colors found in most packaged foods; Tertiary Butylhydroquinine (TBHQ), an antioxidant found in biscuits, microwave popcorn, butter substitutes and chicken nuggets; parabens, sulfates and phthalates found in personal and beauty care products; and a range of acids and toxins found in home cleaning essentials, to name some.

“When you step into our store, it's an interesting and world-class experience. We strive to be a full basket retailer, so you can complete your shopping journey within our stores. Now we have about 3000 SKUs on our shelves, and we continue to introduce interesting categories and products,” explains Gaurav.

Consumer Awareness

The brand’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond its product offerings. It has introduced a zero-waste section in select stores, encouraging customers to bring their own containers for grains and nuts. The company is conscious of consumer preferences, with a dedicated vegan category accounting for a significant portion of sales. TOW's initiatives have not only resonated with environmentally conscious consumers but also positively impacted its revenue.

The Organic World has embraced a tech-driven approach to bridge the online and offline shopping experience seamlessly. Initially partnering with tech enablers, TOW later developed its in-house tech stack, comprising apps, websites, and delivery mechanisms. This move provides the company with more control over data, enabling better insights into consumer behavior.

Acknowledging the challenges in the grocery and organic sector, Gaurav emphasizes the importance of trust in the brand and scale to stay competitive. The company strives to deliver within a two to four-hour time slot, and in a bid to make its last-mile delivery sustainable, TOW is exploring the use of electric vehicles.

Differentiation in a Crowded Market

In a market flooded with products labeled as organic, The Organic World sets itself apart through a combination of the 3As. The brand's strong category play, especially in emerging trends like veganism, further distinguishes it from competitors. The company's commitment to scale, transparent pricing, and a variety of unique products solidifies its position as a leading player in the organic and healthy foods sector.

“We work closely with farmers and a network of farmers under the brand Happy Harvest Farms. They are certified and organic. Additionally, we do our own checks internally, and based on these checks we believe that we are able to provide an authentic experience to the discerning consumer,” Gaurav asserts.

He is optimistic about the future, fueled by the growing awareness of health-conscious consumers. With plans to expand its store network and franchise model, TOW aims to be a dominant player in the Indian organic market. The brand envisions not only leading in the organic sector but also influencing responsible retailing practices across the broader retail industry.

 

 

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