Staff Reporter

Says changes in retail could work out to their benefit

CHENNAI: Change is inevitable. Instead of fearing it, let it drive your growth. That was Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Dayanidhi Maran's advice to the State's unorganised trading community in the face of the challenges posed by the expansion of organised retail.

Addressing the Tamizhaga Vanigargal Munnetra Sangam here on Saturday, Mr. Maran admitted that changes caused initial difficulties. However, the way to deal with this was to view them as opportunities than threats.

"A door half shut is a door half open... Out-of-the-box thinking is needed. Can't we think how to do things differently to be able to compete with them? Aren't we capable of competing," he challenged them.

Mr. Maran criticised those creating a scare about the impact of large retail players in the market, saying agitations and protests would not help.

Arguing that change was necessary for progress, Mr. Maran reminded the audience that the introduction of VAT and the `One India' telecom scheme had faced vociferous protests when proposed. "But now they are praising me for such a progressive measure," he said, assuring the traders that changes in retail could also work to their benefit.

Instead of constantly talking about the gains made by large players, traders should focus on their own opportunities. "Why shouldn't all of us gain," he asked, implying that organised retail's growth was not a zero-sum game.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was committed to supporting the State's trading community, said Mr. Maran, adding that the Chief Minister was always ready to listen to their problems.

Chennai Mayor M. Subramanian said the Government had simplified the process of applying for commercial licence. Traders did not have to produce detailed plans or No Objection Certificates any more to procure licence, he said.

Minister for Housing and Slum Clearance Suba Thangavelan said traders played an important role in society, often sponsoring schools and other public facilities in their localities.

Congress Councillor Saidai P. Ravi, Sangam president V.P.Mani and founder S. Mangalraj spoke. Union Minister G.K. Vasan sent a message of felicitation.