The government plans to set up a chain of 20 lakh retail shops called ‘Suraksha Stores’ across India which will provide daily essentials to citizens while maintaining stringent safety norms.
The Suraksha Stores’ initiative will convert neighbourhood kirana stores into sanitised retail outlets selling daily essentials while adhering to safety norms such as social distancing and sanitisation to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.
According to Suraksha Stores’ website, “Suraksha Store is a public-private initiative to ensure that we can create a safe and secure environment for our consumers and shop owners at our kirana stores. A Suraksha Store is a store (kirana, pharmacy, consumer touchpoint) that follows 100 percent Suraksha safety norms. These stores shall be educated, certified and validated to follow all common minimum health standards as well as safety checklists. Some companies have adopted states.”
The government will rope in private firms to implement this plan, which seeks to ensure that proper protocol is followed in the entire supply chain, right from manufacturing units to retail outlets, to combat Covid-19.
The government is targeting to earmark 20 lakh retail outlets as ‘Suraksha Stores’ over the next 45 days. Each FMCG company might be given one or two states to execute this plan in an effective manner and enable every store to fight coronavirus.
How to Become a Suraksha Store
To become a ‘Suraksha Store’, a retail store will have to comply with a health and safety checklist, which includes social distancing of 1.5 metres outside the shop as well as billing counters, use of sanitiser or handwash by consumers before entering shops, provision of masks to all staff and sanitisation of high touch areas twice a day.
The ‘Suraksha Store’ will not only be for groceries but also consumer durables, apparel and salons.
As per the plan, each retail outlet will have to prominently display that it is a ‘Suraksha Store’ to customers. Educational posters related to hygiene and safety should also be displayed in the store.
Engaging with Top FMCG Companies
More than 50 top FMCG companies have been approached. FMCG companies will be asked to provide training and mobilise health kits (masks, gloves and sanitisers) to enable retail outlets to become ‘Suraksha Stores’.
India’s top 12 packaged consumer goods makers – Nestle India, Britannia Industries Ltd, Marico Ltd, J&J Consumer, Dabur India Ltd, Tata Consumer Products, Procter and Gamble Hygiene and Health Care Ltd, Mondelez India, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd, ITC Ltd, Colgate-Palmolive Co. (India) Ltd – have signed up to work with the government for Suraksha Stores.
Similarly, the Consumer Affairs Ministry is working on creating ‘Suraksha Circle’ where lead manufacturing plants will help their business partners and smaller factories in their vicinity in order to ensure a safe environment across the product supply chain.
Each lead manufacturing plant is expected to adopt 10 SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and one village in order to achieve the target to bring 50,000 SMEs and 5,000 communities under Suraksha Circle.