Walmart India President & CEO Krish Iyer remains convinced on the India opportunity, even as the world’s largest retailer struggles to overcome challenges from online retail in its home territory, the USA.
“India is one of the largest markets in the world and I see opportunity for the next 30 years,” Iyer states.
While he still views policies and regulatory bodies as serious challenges to the business environment, especially for retailers, Iyer believes that efforts by the government on ‘ease of doing business’ in the country and “healthy competition among the states to attract investment, is beginning to impact the retail sector positively”.
“Retail in India has traditionally been a very regulated market and because of numerous operations and regulatory approvals, all retail players (both domestic and foreign) have found it challenging to operate,” he points out.
“But the brighter side of the story currently is that all this is changing. Today, thanks to the very progressive, business- and investment-friendly policies announced by the Centre as well many states governments (such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, among others), it is becoming increasingly easier to operate and contribute to the job creation and economic prosperity,” he notes.
Iyer goes on to laud governments (both in the Centre and states) that realise the importance of retail for its huge potential of job creation and its ability to support the SME sector and other domestic suppliers. “In addition, benefits that a vibrant and efficient retail sector along with its supply chain can create for our farmers and consumers, are also very significant. We’ve already seen some good focus on the retail sector in the recent budget announcement by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Also, state governments in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra have come up with model retail policies to encourage the sector.”
“Programmes such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Startup India’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Skill India’ have the potential to change the course of the country,” he asserts.