The Indian retail industry needs to be conferred industry status to ensure that they get land and power at industrial rates to drive consumption and demand in the country, said President & CEO, Walmart India, Krish Iyer, on Tuesday at India Retail Forum 2017.
“Though retail drives consumption and this in turns drives demand and thereby manufacturing and agriculture as also driving job creation, yet there is no industry status,” he said in his introductory address at the two-day India Retail Forum 2017.
Admitting that consumption and growth is going through short to medium term pain, Iyer pointed out demonetization and GST were game changing reforms leading to formalisation of the economy that will bring sustainable growth in future and through increased tax compliance will help in infrastructure creation. Iyer also emphasized on the need for capability building of talent commensurate with growth.
Apart from lower land and power rates, industry status will ensure investments through single window clearance that will streamline license processes for investing in supply chain infrastructure.
Taking over reins as the Chairman of IRF 2017 from Krish Iyer, Govind Shrikhande, Chairman IRF 2017 and CCA & Managing Director, Shoppers Stop told the retail audience to not get unduly perturbed with the online digital revolution. “Brick and Mortar retail is portrayed to be dying in US, then why would online players then keep on acquiring brick and mortar firms. That is because, Brick and Mortar accounts for 90 per cent,” Shrikhande said while admitting that adoption of digital and data analytics are tools to drive efficiency and proximity to customers.
Shrikhande also concurred with Krish Iyer on the need for industry status for the retail business.
Earlier, in his short inaugural address, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India, Suresh Prabhu, who recently took over this portfolio after cabinet reshuffle called upon the retailers to promote this segment in the country.
“Retail plays a significant role in reaching out the products from the manufacturers to the consumers and in the process, is the largest provider of employment. It also has a cascading effect in terms of indirect employment,” Prabhu said seeking suggestions from retailers on policy and regulatory issues.