The Indian retail industry has emerged as one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries due to the entry of several new players. It accounts for over 10 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and around 8 per cent of the employment. Indian retail industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10% to reach $1.1 trillion by 2021.
The Budget is coming at the time when the economy is slowing gaining its normalcy back after going through a slowdown because of structural reforms such as demonetisation and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax(GST). The Finance Ministry’s task with regard to the retail sector is a pivotal and would involve harmonizing industry expectations with retail interests of the stakeholders like the producers, market intermediaries, taxpayers and consumers. The mission to provide a long standing thrust to retail sector needs to be the prime focus.
One of the most important factors for the growth of the Indian retail sector is purchasing power of the consumer. Therefore, the 2018 budget provides the Government with a perfect platform to widen the tax slabs for individuals, which would in-turn lead to increased disposable income in the hands of the consumer hence stimulating consumption, thereby boosting retail markets. Hence introduction of fiscal measures to curb the inflation would bring in some cheer.
National Retail Policy would be welcomed as this will help rationalize various laws and regulations affecting retail sector. Also industry status to retail would help give access to funding to MSME retailers amid increased completion from other channels.
The budget must aim to make provisions for the creation of Retail and Entertainment Zones (REZs) by reserving specified areas hallmarked as REZs on similar lines to the current SEZ Regulations. This would help give a major thrust to consumption and shopping tourism.
The stimulus to develop retail infra like logistics parks, quality retail spaces and other necessary ancillary support would go a long way to bolster the retail ecosystem.
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