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Maharashtra Cabinet okays new retail policy

No random inspection at shops; outlets selling perishable goods to be brought under Essential Services and Maintenance Act

Sanjay Jog  |  Mumbai 

Maharashtra okays retail policy, to scrap random inspection

The Maharashtra Cabinet on Tuesday approved a new retail policy, which envisages inclusion of shops selling perishable goods under the Essential Services and Maintenance Act but exclusion of those owned by an individual employing nine persons.

Under the new policy, there won’t be any random inspection on shops. Any such action will be done only if the authorities concerned receive a complaint.

Further, the government will create ‘retail entertainment zones’ and ‘retail clusters’ by providing a slew of tax sops. The new policy allows up to 50 per cent additional floor space index (FSI) over the base FSI, to develop retail and shopping centres. This, however, would be subject to payment of full applicable premium according to the prevailing ready-reckoner rates. This is to enhance viability and quality of development of retail centres.

Retail trade would be relaxed from the provision of stocking limits under the Essential Commodities Act and the players would be exempt from the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) regulations, so that farmers can sell their produce directly to the retailers. Retailers would not have to pay any cess to APMC.

The retail policy will be formally released in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Make In India week being organised in Mumbai from February 13 to 18.

Business Standard had reported in August 2015 about the draft policy, which was circulated by the state government seeking views from various stake holders.

A senior minister, who did not wish to be named, told Business Standard: “The government has received various suggestions and objections, and the Cabinet has given due consideration before giving its nod. The policy is not aimed at providing benefit to big corporate houses, multi-chain stores and industry houses, but to protect the interest of small traders.”

However, the Federation of Retail Traders and welfare Association president Viren Shah said the association would wait for the government to officially announce the retail policy. “'If the policy does not give due protection to small traders, the association will oppose it,'' he noted.

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First Published: Wed, January 20 2016. 00:39 IST