Published On : Fri, Aug 26th, 2016

Two-day National Trade Leaders’ conference at Nagpur will be stormy

More than 200 prominent Trade Leaders from all States and Union Territories will be assembling tomorrow and day after at Nagpur for participation in two day Conference of National Governing Council of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) to be held at Nagpur on August 27 and 28, 2016.

The Conference is being held at a time when both Central and State Governments are working hard to ensure implementation of Goods & Services Tax (GST) from April 1, 2017 and even supporting the GST, the trade and industry have voiced their various concerns. The two day Conference of trade leaders of the Country will deliberate on many burning issues concerning retail trade of India including having a marathon session on GST. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis are also likely to address the trade leaders and will ascertain their input on various issues.

CAIT National President B.C.Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal while addressing a Press Conference today at Nagpur said that GST is an attempt to bring radical changes in taxation system of India which is a welcome step since current taxation system is fraught with various anomalies and disparities but at the same time the proposed model of GST also provides various provisions which will be difficult for the traders to comply with efficiently. Element of ease of doing business is somewhat missing in model GST Bill and some complicated provisions related to input credit and place of supply will certainly give rise to litigation. In the light of the same, the trade leaders will have a serious debate on the proposed model Bill of GST and will compile a series of suggestions which will be handed over to Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on August 30, 2016 at Delhi at a meeting already scheduled with trade & industry by the Committee.

The Conference will also have a critical evaluation of Food Safety and Standards Act which is so far have not been amended despite the demand of traders and assurances of the Government. This issue is hanging fire since year 2011 and needs to be settled. Unfortunately, the dictatorial attitude of the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India has proved to be a major road block. The trade leaders will finalise their strategy as to how pressurize the Government to re-visit the Act which encourages packed food culture in the Country and this sector is dominated ither by the MNCs or big Corporate houses.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid greater stress on adoption of cashless economy in the Country. The CAIT while terming it as a necessity for the growth of economy has supported this initiative and has designed a “less cash national movement” which is already been undertaken by the trading community all over the Country. However, this initiative needs greater support from the Government in terms of incentivization policy to encourage more usage of card payment in the Country. Senior officials of HDFC Bank, MasterCard and CIBIL, a credit scoring company will be a part of the discussion to be held during one of the session at the Conference.

Launching Mudra Bank by the Prime Minister last year was a landmark initiative taken by any Government in past 68 years in the Country but however, it has not reached the real people for whom it was designed. Unfortunately, the inclusion of Bank as a lending agency in Mudra has vitiated the very fundamental of Mudra. Originally, it was proposed that Non Banking Finance Companies, Micro Finance Institutions, Trust and Societies will be register and accredited under Mudra for lending the money whereas the Banks will act as re-financing agency. The two days Conference will chalk out its strategy to impress upon the Government to make Mudra as an independent regulator and inclusion of NBFCs, MFIs and others as lending agency.

The Conference will also discuss in detail the role of E Commerce Companies who are indulging in deep discounting while violating the FDI policy which is proving much detrimental to retail trade. It is noteworthy to mention that the CAIT had made a complaint against these Companies to Union Government on August 10, 2016 and the Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sithraman has taken a cognizance of this grave issue and declare to form a Grievance Cell in the Ministry.

However, the CAIT will demand for a specified policy for the e commerce business in India to retail equal level playing field. The trading community of the Country is deeply aggravated for allowing FDI in retail particularly in food sector. Such steps are against the commitment made by the BJP at the time of polls in 2014.

Various other issues like upgradation and modernization of retail trade, empowerment and financial literacy of women entrepreneurs in India, formation of a Retail Regulatory Authority and a separate Ministry of Internal Trade will also be discussed in the Conference-said both Bhartia and Khandelwal.