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Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group
The decision by the government to allow 100 per cent FDI in single brand retail is definitely a positive for the retail sector. It has added a much needed dimension to the retail industry. However, luxury infrastructure is a major challenge as real estate is too expensive and there are problems in logistics and distribution system. Therefore a more organized infrastructure will help bring the rents down.
Further, introduction of FDI in multi-brand retail trading would benefit the consumers, producers and generate significant employment in the sector. Therefore, a calibrated approach for introducing FDI in the retail sector in terms of the percentage and minimum capitalisation requirements is recommended.
Also, we hope that the government looks at concession from states in the form of refunding state taxes and improvement in export-related infrastructure.
Vikaas Gutgutia, MD and Founder, Ferns N Petals:
We want the Finance Minister to recognise that the flower industry is an agriculture-based sector which is the backbone of the economy. We at FNP support the farmers from the bottom of the pyramid who are growing and ensure that his produce reaches the end consumer. However, in this journey we as a commercial activity is severely burdened with local VAT, service tax, municipal tax, octroi and direct taxes which cripple our growth and the record keeping which is required at our end is phenomenal. Since 58 per cent of country's workforce is from agriculture, we would request the concerned authority to give the required attention to this sector as the progress in this sector is crucial to the overall economic development of the country.
We would request you to help setup a cold chain for the movement of perishable goods like flowers, vegetables and fruits which will ensure the transportation at a faster rate and at the same time at lower costs. We would also request to excuse or grant moratorium on all taxes to this industry in next 5 years to become a viable sector and grow without much stumbling blocks of taxes.
FNP is one of the biggest in the e-commerce industry. Hence, it requires clean aggressive targets for the broadband penetration to grow and reach to the panchayat level. This will not only help in the governance but also engage and inspire the grass root levels to enter the e-commerce industry, make use of the internet space in selling their products without taking the hassle of a retail space which requires huge investments. This not only helps in empowering the village but also bring them to face the world by adapting them with new technology and equipments
Only a holistic view on agriculture value chain can help in uplifting the plight of the present scenario. Comprehensive framework of policies and allocation of funds as well as monitoring of the execution of these funds can result in the effective utilization of the resources and their capabilities. . Hence, various taxes should be kept at bay for the industry to grow into a viable platform and more and more number of people get inspired to join the agriculture industry or continue the association.