Cohesive national retail policy to help generate up to 30 lakh additional jobs by 2024: CII

NEW DELHI: A cohesive national retail policy would go a long way in reviving the sector and help generate up to 30 lakh additional jobs in the country by 2024, CII National Committee on Retail Chairman Shashwat Goenka said on Tuesday.Goenka, who is also Head – Retail & FMCG, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, while speaking at the CII India Retail Summit 2020, said a thorough national retail policy would help the sector bounce back and grow exponentially in the years to come.As per industry estimates, around 5 crore people are employed in the organised retail sector in India.“Moving forward as the industry revives from its slump, new and emerging models need to be deliberated in order to accelerate the recovery process. The industry is still hampered by the loss in the demand therefore proactive steps need to be taken in order to revive consumer confidence as well,” Goenka noted.To address these challenges and bottlenecks faced by the sector across formats, retail industry leaders under the ambit of CII believe that the government should come up with a cohesive model retail policy, he added.“Today more than ever it is imperative to create a necessary environment for conducive growth with the national retail policy. By implementing a cohesive retail policy the government can fuel the sector’s growth which can generate up to 30 lakh additional jobs by 2024, apart from creating indirect job opportunities in allied sectors,” Goenka said.He added that research indicated that an investment of just Rs 6,500 crore in retail related infrastructure, including warehousing and cold storage facilities, can create two or three lakh additional job.“The government has always been proactive for the retail sector and has taken several measures to help create a robust environment which has allowed retail to thrive. However now as we recover from the pandemic, a policy-led approach where the industry and government work together cohesively will allow the retail industry to bounce back and grow exponentially in the years to come,” Goenka said.Speaking at the event, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade Joint Secretary Anil Agrawal said the government is working on the retail policy.“We have a discussion paper (on retail policy) and we are refining it and I am sure inputs from the report launched today will give us some good insights as how do we fine-tune the retail policy,” he said.He added that the government is also conscious that retail and e-commerce need to be looked in an integral manner so that the entire ecosystem grows together.A report titled ‘National Retail Policy- To Enable the Next Wave of Retail Growth’, was also released during the day long event.The CII-Kearney report details the critical areas that the retail policy needs to pay attention to, across five building blocks including streamlining approvals and compliance mechanisms to improve ease of doing business.It also lays emphasis on improving access to capital, especially for traditional retailers and smaller players, rapid adoption of technology and modernisation by traditional retailers, bridging logistics and supply chain infrastructure gaps, and enhancing labour participation and productivity.Elaborating on the retail industry, Goenka said the sector is expected to double in size in 2021 from 2017.He said that the sector has been majorly impacted due to the ongoing COVID crisis.“Most retail employees who earn minimum wages have been severely impacted. Simultaneously, the business losses incurred have run into crores creating immense pressure on the overall system and in turn for the Indian economy,” Goenka noted.The biggest concern is to find a feasible and affordable manner through which businesses are kept afloat by retaining all the employees, he added.“The COVID pandemic has had an adverse impact on all of the formats but the sector is expected to bounce back and maintain its strong growth momentum in the medium to long term and continue with 9 per cent CAGR in the next few years,” Goenka said.
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