Panel proposes regulator for organised retail trade

In an attempt to have a balanced approach in encouraging investment in retail sector, the Centre is planning to set up a regulator for organised retail trade and put in place sufficient safeguards to protect the interest of small traders.

A high level panel headed by Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister K V Thomas to study issues related to retail trade  in its recent meeting also decided to work on the details of the regulatory body and ways to protect the interest of small traders.  
The panel which comprises host of ministers and officials from different ministries will submit its recommendation in six months to government.

The committee also discussed the issues related to age old legislation pertaining to internal trade, including Essential Commodities Act, Shops and Establishment Acts to facilitate the growth in the sector.  However, no decision was taken on these issues so far.

“The committee will take the views from all stakeholders and submit its recommendations,” sources in the government told Deccan Herald.

As the finance ministry had proposed central legislation to regulate agriculture commodity markets in India and regulatory framework for e-commerce and online retailers such as Flipkart and eBay, the committee will discuss these issues in coming days, sources said.
The committee was constituted in the background of demand from small traders to protect their interest after the Centre allowing 51 per cent the foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail sector. 

Though the Centre took the decision to allow FDI in multi brand retail it was subject to approval by state governments. All governments ruled by the Congress favoured the decision. However, Rajasthan and Delhi, which saw changes in regimes recently, cancelled the decisions taken by their respective governments. Both the governments cited the issue of protection of small traders for the reversal of their decisions.

Earlier the Supreme Court while hearing the petition regarding the FDI also said that regulatory framework should be set up to protect the interest of small traders.

The court said the big companies can bring down the prices of commodities through unfair trade practices, forcing small traders to shut shop after which the companies could hike prices and monopolise the market.
DH News Service

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