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Draft national retail policy being drafted to streamline trade: Minister

Parkash said the government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to address the problem of shortage of containers and high freight rates.

SNS | New Delhi |

A draft national retail trade policy has been prepared for streamlining retail trade and development of all formats of the retail trade sector in a harmonious manner, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.

He said the policy was aimed at improving ease of doing business by ensuring easy and quick access to affordable credit, facilitating modernisation and digitisation of retail trade by promoting modern technology and superior infrastructural support, development of physical infrastructure across the distribution chain of retail trade, promotion of skill development and improving labour productivity. It would also seek to create large-scale employment opportunities, providing an effective consultative and grievance redressal mechanism for the retail sector, for the welfare of traders and their employees.

In another reply, Parkash said the government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to address the problem of shortage of containers and high freight rates. The efforts were spearheaded by an interdisciplinary task force consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Ports Shipping and Waterways, Ministry of Railways, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), and stakeholders like the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), Container Shipping Lines Association (CSLA), etc.

The task force after considerable stakeholder consultations has initiated coordinated action on identified tracks. This includes pressing additional shipping/container capacity into service through measures such as enhanced import of empty containers by shipping lines to the country, improved operational planning by facilitating close coordination between exporters and shipping lines, the release of abandoned/detained/seized containers, increasing duty-free stay of containers, freight discounts for empty repositioning by Railways, transport, and marketing assistance for select commodities, measures to improve the turnaround times of containers through tracking and monitoring of dwell times so as to effectively enhance the availability of containers, seeking out possible ways to promote the use of bulk/break-bulk movement by exporters as compared to containerised movement wherever feasible, etc.