Retailers Association of India (RAI) on Thursday asked the government to create a unified FDI policy for the sector that would also cover e-commerce, saying online trade is just a sub-set of retail.
In a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, a delegation of the body, which included senior executives of Future Group, Shoppers Stop, Tata Group, Aditya Birla Group and Landmark Group also asked the government to allow homegrown retailers to access global capital up to 49 per cent without any restrictions.
The delegation "discussed the need to create a unified FDI policy for 'Retail Trade' as channels like E-commerce are just a sub-set of retail", RAI said in a statement. During the meeting, issues such as violations of FDI policy in retail and way forward for GST were discussed.
"The delegation emphasised the need to support Indian-managed, Indian-owned retail businesses to access global capital up to 49 per cent without any restrictions," the statement said. Apart from FDI in retail, the retailers also discussed several important aspects of GST with the finance minister, appreciating the slab-wise approach to implementing the much-awaited tax, it added. In addition, the delegation emphasised the need to transition to GST at rates as close as possible to current effective rate of tax.
Meanwhile, Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani and other retailers demanded a level-playing field for brick-and-mortar stores vis-a-vis e-commerce players. At a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Biyani discussed the issues concerning hefty discount doled out on the e-commerce platform and also foreign direct investment norms in the retail sector.
The meeting of the Retailers Association of India (RAI) came against the backdrop of controversy over advertisements for discounts by online retailers. As per DIPP guidelines, the e-commerce players providing marketplace will not directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods or services and will maintain a level-playing field.
Seeking to take advantage of the festive season, e-retailers like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal have gone in for an aggressive media blitz to attract consumers.