NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Tuesday said the government will work on helping kirana stores and local traders link with online retail. “This is the government’s responsibility. We will definitely do that,” Kant said at a meeting with the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).
Praveen Khandelwal, National Secretary General, CAIT, said the traders’ body has no objection to the linking of online retail and kiranas. However, he said it is a contentious issue. “We need to deliberate this issue among ourselves and then will go with our views to the government,” he said.
The traders’ body was also of the view that the concept of MRP be looked at afresh. “MRP is a notional subject now. Let there be a realistic price, not MRP,” said Khandelwal. The CAIT also demanded that the cash-on-delivery system for e-commerce companies be stopped.
Kant reiterated that the government’s stand on e-commerce policies is clear and kirana stores have to grow along with modern retail. He also suggested that such stores and traders need to link to the Indian Postal system, which in turn is being linked to the banking system.
“Traditional and modern retail will co-exist in the country. Modern retail will only grow and there is a need to adopt technology and digitisation,” Kant said. He stressed that the retail sector is poised to become the biggest sector with a growth projection of $1.3 trillion by 2020. “Growth with jobs will happen in the retail sector,” he said. However, he was firm that the government will not stop or restrict capital inflow in retail.
“India has a large consumer base and as per-capita income grows, purchasing power will grow,” Kant said, adding that this will lead to more people buying branded products. He also said that big players like Amazon and Walmart will need to partner with kirana stores to grow. Kant did not comment on the CAIT’s demand for the inclusion of domestic e-commerce companies in the government’s new policy.
Khandelwal stressed on the need to define the stakeholders in the e-commerce policy. “Let there be a clarification in the preamble on who the stakeholders (domestic players, online vendors, small traders, etc) are,” he said.
Source: The Hindu