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Trade restrictions on retail outlets spark protests

Trade restrictions on retail outlets spark protests
Highlights

The retailers are a worried lot with the introduction of trade product restrictions for outlets selling multiple products of everyday use such as bread, eggs, juices, soft drinks, wafers

Hyderabad: The retailers are a worried lot with the introduction of trade /product restrictions for outlets selling multiple products of everyday use such as bread, eggs, juices, soft drinks, wafers.

Mohammad Salauddin, Vice-President, Federation of Retailers Association of India (FRAI) and General Secretary, Pan Shops Owners Association of India said, “The new rules will increase the cost of business and many would lose their livelihood. Along with tobacco products is restriction of free trade & commerce and will only increase the cost of doing business as rent-seeking by inspectors would return.”

Retailers fear that this will lead to intense harassment of poor retailers and a sharp increase in the cost of doing business and reduction of their income. FRAI appealed to Chief Minister to protect the interests of over 4 lakh micro retailers who sell multiple products to earn a meagre sum to look after their families and save them from the potential harassment. Foreign funded NGOs are pressurising the government with misleading information campaigns to frame anti-small retailer policies.

Over 1,000 FRAI members and representatives gathered to plead the State Government to protect their interests. The members also gave a representation to government officials, listing their demands. FRAI plans to continue their marches in other states and raise awareness about their plight. The Federation of Retailer Association of India (FRAI) are a representative body of 4 crore micro, small and medium retailers across the country, with 34 retail associations from North, South, East and West as the members of our Federation.

“Retailers who also sell tobacco in Telangana are already facing immense financial pressure because of extreme regulation of the tobacco industry. Simultaneously, controls on advertising at the point of sale will remove differentiation between a retailer selling legal tobacco products and fly-by-night retailers selling smuggled / illicit tobacco products. Together, these measures will increase the cost of doing business for these poor retailers and a consequent reduction in their earnings to the extent of a minimum 40%, which will be a big blow to our members,” said Mohammad Salauddin.

Introduction of restrictions on selling of legal products is against the Government’s ‘ease of doing business’ in India policy. Any move that would increase the cost of doing business must be stopped immediately say retailers. Proposal of such regulation like this should be considered only through a democratic and consultative process after giving a chance to the affected to voice their concerns. It seems that the officials are under pressure from aggressive, foreign funded NGO’s who want to kill the unorganized retail sector, domestic tobacco industry and promote smuggled foreign tobacco and supermarkets allege retailers.

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