Andhra Pradesh became the first state in the country to announce its retail policy – offering a much greater relaxation in labour laws in working hours for ease of doing business in the retail sector. The state has also moved a step ahead by including food and grocery retail enterprises under the Essential Services maintenance Act (ESMA) to put an end to labour strikes. It has also included distribution centres and retail warehouses as public services under the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 for the same reason.
The agenda behind the announcement of new retail policy is to facilitate the state to become a hub of retail logistics as well as to promote establishing warehouses and distribution centres, according to the Chief Minister Mr. Chandrababu Naidu. The wholesome socio-economic development of the state is what the chief minister hopes for.
The state’s Vision 2020 is pertaining to attract Rs. 5,000 crore investments in the retail market. As of now, the state holds for about 8% of India’s total retail sector out of 13 million stores. Some of the biggest retail industries like Walmart, Future Group, Spencer’s and Arvind Lifestyle among others have agreed on to setting up large stores in the state with an investment of Rs. 1,500 crore. With this, the industry giants have also promised to generate employment of more than 25,000 people.
According to Future Group, they see this new policy as an excellent step as a new beginning and would be setting up new stores within the next 6-8 months along with identifying four AP cities to set up new shopping malls. Walmart would be responsible for opening up 15 new stores apart from establishing new ways to source agricultural products from small and medium farmers from all across the state.
The new retail policy also encourages retailers to allow part-time employees as well as removing stock limits for important commodities. The enterprises will also be able to run their business all through the week for extended hours up to 15 hours per day. The state will allot land for retailers to establish distribution centres and warehouses which can be valid for a period of 33 years under the commercial category. The policy also recommends extending tailor-made incentives to mega retail enterprises having investments up to Rs. 100 crore or employing a minimum 2,000 people.