With the government looking to bring in a national policy for retail trade, retailers are seeking removal of bottlenecks such as the need for multiple licences to open and run retail stores to boost the ease of doing business.

On Tuesday, the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) held a meeting with key retail associations and trade bodies to discuss formulation of a national policy for retail and internal trade.

The attendees included the Retailers Association of India (RAI), the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the CII, FICCI, Assocham, and the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In a statement, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI said: “We at the Retailers Association of India want a policy that will protect and further the interests of retail traders across the country and create a conducive environment for retail trade. This will culminate into removing of several bottlenecks and irritants to smooth running of retail businesses in the country.”

Stating that a draft of the national retail policy is expected to be released in the next 10 days for further consultations, Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, CAIT, said all laws, Acts and rules governing domestic trade should be reviewed, with redundant regulations scrapped.

“There should be one licence instead of 28 for conducting business, and their yearly renewal should be abolished, as it causes great harassment and corruption,” he said in a statement.

Khandelwal said that easy access to finance is a big challenge for traders, and steps are needed to ensure that traders are able to address their financial concerns.

“Under the policy, there should be a provision of (appointing) a Trade Commissioner and District Trade Advisory Committee in each district,” he added.

“The government has almost moved to an e-system, whereas only 35 per cent of traders out of seven crore have been able to computerise their business as of now. Serious steps are needed to link the rest with computers, for which the government should provide 50 per cent subsidy to traders,” Khandelwal said.