The Retailers Association of India (RAI) is calling for a national policy on the retail trade.

“Retail has been growing and is (now) estimated at over $560 billion. But a policy for retail is still not in place. It is still under the Shops and Establishment Act,” lamented the Chief Executive Officer of RAI, Kumar Rajagopalan.

Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh had shown interest in such a policy, and the other States should come on board in the larger interest of the trade, he said. “We are looking at a State level policy on retail.”

The RAI Chief Executive was in the city for the Coimbatore Retail Summit 2015 at Taj Vivanta this morning.

Asked what the association was looking for, he said, “It should address the retail space (business). Today, there is no single window clearance for those wanting to start a retail establishment. They have to get 50 different clearances such as for power, shop floor, business licence etc, and have to deal with multiple check points and taxes. A nodal ministry and nodal officers to handle these will be in line with the Government’s mantra of ease of doing business in India.”

The association, formed in 2004, has about 1,000 members. Rajagopalan is expecting enrolment to surge once the GST is in place. “There are over 12 million outlets in the country; while retailers are our members, their franchisees are not,” he explained.

On online retailing, T Shantakumar, Managing Director, Kirtilal Kalidas Jewellers Pvt Ltd said the trend was catching up. “Online business extends support to the traditional store format, and will become cheaper going forward.”