Mumbai Local

State nod for new retail trade policy

The State cabinet on Tuesday considered relaxing retail norms and listing food and grocery business under “essential services” to protect them from closures during bandhs. The move is part of the BJP-led government’s initiative to improve the State’s ease of doing business rating.

On Tuesday, a presentation on the State’s Retail Trade Policy 2016 was made to the cabinet, which gave an in-principle approval, officials said. However, the ‘new and improved’ policy will be unveiled only in February during the Make In India week to be held in Mumbai.

Key suggestions include Food and Grocery Business in retail under the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) as ‘essential services’ and, relaxation of stocking limit under Essential Commodities Act (ECA). The State cabinet’s approval also means that retail enterprises shall be allowed to remain open 365 days of the year, shops can function between 5 am and 11 pm, and can also remain open between 11pm and 5am for logistics and supply purposes. Women employees shall be permitted to work up to 10 pm, provided precautions are taken for their safety.

The policy’s draft, released in July 2015, also promotes relaxation of labour laws under the Shops and Establishments Act with regard to working hours, work shifts, employment of part time workers, and the maintenance of records.

One of the key features of the policy will be the setting up of Retail Entertainment Zones (REZ). “Retail shall be considered as an essential amenity. The Development Control Regulations shall reserve spaces for retail and entertainment on the same lines as reservations for essential services and restaurants in order to make retail more affordable,” said the policy draft.

The policy states that to enhance the viability and quality of development for retail centres, up to 50 per cent of additional Floor Space Index (FSI) for development of retail and shopping centres will be admissible over the base FSI, subject to payment of full applicable premium as per the prevailing Ready Reckoner rates. The Federation of Retail Traders and Welfare Association had opposed the draft policy calling it favourable to big corporate retailers and against small traders. “We had opposed it and given our suggestions. We would like to check whether our suggestions have been accepted or not. We can only comment on it only after studying the complete policy,” said Viren Shah, the association’s president.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 3:33:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/State-nod-for-new-retail-trade-policy/article14009941.ece

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