What Can Retail Startups Expect from the National Retail Policy?

Retail e-commerce is the best segment of the retail industry, growing at 28% per annum.


The critical areas expected to be touched upon in the National Retail Policy are widely speculated to include the ease of doing business, rationalising the licensing process, digitising retail, focusing on reforms, and an open network digital commerce. These factors are presumed to be the driving parameters for the Indian retail industry.

In India, opening up a shop or a departmental store requires many licences, and the compliance burden has only grown over time. Retail e-commerce, which has been growing at 28 per cent, is the best segment of the retail industry with a colossal surge. This came as the digital shift continued to increase in the pandemic and post-pandemic world.

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"Offline retail and e-commerce have to be examined integrally. There is also a requirement for skilling and re-skilling the workforce," Anil Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT)

Immense Dependence on Retail Industry

Close to 50 million people are employed in India in this sector meaning that these jobs need to be protected and nurtured, even as digitisation improves the sector’s efficiency. The policy is expected to address small and medium retail entrepreneurs’ concerns who bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.

Retail Sector: What to Look Forward To

Experts say that improving this sector will need rigorous work on:

Advancing access to capital, particularly for traditional retailers,

Rapid enactment of technology and modernisation by offline players,

Linking logistics and supply chain infrastructure breaks, and

Enhancing labour cooperation and potency.

A well-charted national retail policy would immensely help revive the sector and generate up to 30 lakh other jobs in India. Research shows that an expenditure of just Rs 6,500 crore in infrastructure, including warehousing and cold room facilities, can create two or three lakh additional jobs.

Pandemic’s Impact

The industry has majorly crashed due to the continuing COVID crisis. Most workers who earn minimum wages have been severely affected. Simultaneously, the trade losses incurred have run into crores building immense stress on the overall system and the Indian economy.

The biggest concern is to find an achievable and affordable manner through which businesses can be kept afloat by holding all the employees. The COVID pandemic has harmed all of the formats but the sector is presumed to bounce back and maintain its momentum in the future to continue with 9 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in the future.

Aakash Sharma
Aakash Sharma
Aakash writes on Startup Ecosystem, Policies, Legal and Regulatory aspects of business planning. An alum of Delhi University, he is assistant editor at Dutch Uncles.

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