Thursday, November 1, 2018

Policy Clarity required to enable Indian Retail

Trade in India is centuries old and historically the stories of our spices, etc., reaching many foreign shores, abound. From a historical perspective, it was these riches that attracted traders from overseas and the subsequent developments led to East India Company establishing a trading base first and then making India into its colony. This historical turn of events might have left a deep and long lasting imprint on the collective psyche which might be manifesting itself in the form of the vigorous and violent opposition to FDI in multi brand retail, today. 

Over the years we have largely seen shop keepers with a few exceptions where businesses managed a chain of stores. It is only from the mid 90s that Retail as a concept emerged in India. Understanding the differentiation between "Shop Keeping" and Retailing is very important. Their approach to business and priorities are completely different. Similarly clubbing eTail (Online Shopping) with eCommerce with regard to policy is incorrect.

As a start, Indian Retail needs Industry status and a cohesive approach with regard to policy-making and governance. My thoughts towards enabling the sector has been published as a Retail Report titled as "Six steps to redefining retail rules" in The Hindu Business Line. (Click on the link to read the article)