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Budget 2018: Here is what retail sector is expecting from FM Arun Jaitley

In the run up to the budget, retailers have asked the government to simplify GST system and grant industry status to the sector for easier access to finance and attract more investments.

Budget 2018: Here is what retail sector is expecting from FM Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is all set to present the Union Budget 2018 on Thursday The retail sector hopes that the Budget gives lots more in the hands of individual consumers for them to be able to go out there and buy.

Representing voice of retailers in India, the Retailers Association of India has listed its expectations for the retail sector from the upcoming Budget to the Finance Ministry.

1. Industry Status for Retail Sector: Such a step would provide the sector with support in accessing the financial system and hence allow for more investment in the sector and also allow the critical sector to be eligible for all support and incentives as applicable to other industries.

2. Access to renewable power sources of energy: Retailers having power demand less than 1 MVA shall be allowed access or open access to use renewable power sources of energy such as solar energy and wind energy.

3. FDI for Indian-owned and managed businesses: 49 percent FDI is allowed to all Indian owned and managed retail entities without any restrictions under Automatic Route.

4. Stricter implementation of the Model Shops and Establishments Act: The Central Government introduced 'The Model Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Services) Act 2016 in June of 2016, which is a progressive legislation. However, it has been adopted only by Maharashtra. The Govt should encourage to other states to adopt the same.

5. Eliminating intermediaries between farmers and retailers: The provisions of the APMC Act has to be relooked to facilitate easy procurement of produce by retailers who can then pass on the benefits to consumers.

6. E-enabling small retailers and incentivizing digital payments: Affordable and accessible billing system (both hardware and software) to small retailers in India will be one of the key elements for early and widespread adoption of e-enablement. There is a need to make accepting digital payments attractive to retailers either by making them cheaper than card payments or by incentivising acceptance.

7. Further simplification of GST: One of the biggest ask with regards to GST is that the government provide for GST Refunds to International Tourists, promoting tourism and retail. GST invoices issued to BTC consumers be further simplified by eliminating the mention of HSN codes on them, removing the need for manual signature and multiple copies. In addition, RAI has highlighted several practical problems and operational challenges faced by retailers with regards to GST and have included a few recommendations based on the same.