1. The retail sector in India is severely constrained by limited availability of bank finance. The Government and RBI need to evolve suitable lending policies that will enable retailers in the organised and unorganised sectors to expand and improve efficiencies. Policies that encourage unorganised sector retailers to migrate to the organised sector by investing in space and equipment should be encouraged.
2. A National Commission must be established to study the problems of the retail sector and to evolve policies that will enable it to cope with FDI – as and when it comes.
3. The proposed National Commission should evolve a clear set of
conditionalities on giant foreign retailers on the procurement of farmproduce, domestically manufactured merchandise and imported goods. These conditionalities must be aimed at encouraging the purchase of goods in the domestic market, state the minimum space, size and specify details like, construction and storage standards, the ratio of floor space to parking space etc. Giant shopping centres must not add to our existing urban snarl.
4. Entry of foreign players must be gradual and with social safeguards so that the effects of the labour dislocation can be analysed & policy finetuned. Initially allow them to set up supermarkets only in metros. Make the costs of entry high and according to specific norms and regulations so that the retailer cannot immediately indulge in ‘predatory’ pricing.
5. In order to address the dislocation issue, it becomes imperative to
develop and improve the manufacturing sector in India. There has
been a substantial fall in employment by the manufacturing sector, to the extent of 4.06 lakhs over the period 1998 to 2001, while its contribution to the GDP has grown at an average rate of only 3.7%17. If this sector is given due attention, and allowed to take wings, then it
could be a source of great compensation to the displaced workforce from the retail industry.