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New Delhi: We welcome the budget with open arms. However, there is no specific announcement in this budget for SME’s especially from the overall retail sector, Anup Kumar, Founder & CEO, Kirana King, reviewed the budget. In the grocery retail segment, we understand the importance of the Pop-shops coming in during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government in this budget should have come up with a policy/relief/incentive/ rebates to motivate the retailers to come in the formal economy. This would give an impetus to employment as well and rise in the per-capita income. In terms of technology adoption, the biggest problem in India at the moment is where people have been talking about AI, Machine Learning, the question that arises is, has the Government been speaking of educating the retailers about the same? We understand the importance of technology, however, we feel that there is a need to create a knowledge-sharing platform or a training platform to educate the small retailers who are not highly educated. We must look at the aspect to know if these unorganized segments are actually ready to adopt such technological advancements. In our view, we feel that the Government must establish retail institutes to focus more on educating these retailers to adopt the best retail practices. People haven’t been focusing on the root cause but on symptoms.
Looking at the larger picture of the retail sector, it contributes a reasonable percentage to the GDP as well as the employment at the national level. Still, we see that the Government has been speaking of, industries, corporate tax, GDP etc. However, we need to understand the Aam Aadmi of India. COVID-19 has spurred up the importance of local Kirana Stores which did provide seamlessly during the Pandemic with no hurdles nor any barriers. Focusing on the rural areas, we see a lot of potentials which can be amplified with proper supply chain mechanism and providing financial assistance along with a good plan to educate the rural retailers. What is missing today is that there is no focus or we can say there is a lack of awareness of the best retail practices which can be provided by the Government by launching formal training education institutions in Retail. Irrespective of the existing retail format the retailers must be made aware on what are the best retail practices which can be adopted, which technology can be used for best results and what is the benefit of adopting digital technology through a formal education training institution with a special focus on retail.
The retailers have a voice and have the power to promote ‘Make-in-India’ products. They do have a voice for ‘Vocal for Local’. This is where retailers can be brand ambassadors of the products they sell. To sum it up, the Government should have looked upon a. Creating a formal education set –up to educate the retailers on the use of technology b. Offer incentive and rebates to promote unorganized retailers to be a part of the formal economy c. Increase the per-capita income with a support system for the retail sector to increase employment