The Andhra Pradesh government has become the first state in the country to introduce a Retail Policy; having recently introduced the Andhra Pradesh Retail Trade Policy 2015-2020, with the aim of simplification of labour laws and processes, skill development support, and single desk clearances; to promote the retail sector in the state. The government aims to make Andhra Pradesh one of the most preferred destinations for trade in the country.
So what does it exactly mean for retail businesses and employees?
1: Aiming to attract investments of over Rs. 5000 crores by 2020; the policy will create 20,000 jobs in the retail sector.
2: This policy shall be applicable to any retail enterprise with a minimum annual turnover of Rs 1 crore or any retail enterprise with 10 employees or more.
3: Four stretches of inland waterways from Kakinada to Puducherry are going to be developed to facilitate easy movement of cargo.
4: The government will make it easy for retailers to store their stock by setting up world class warehouses in addition to allotting land on lease. Additionally, the government is also committed to delivering reliable 24X7 power to enterprises.
5: Providing financial and technical support to youth; the government aims to increase employability by developing necessary skills in 1 lakh youth; over the next five years.
6: For easy clearance of permissions and licenses, the government aims to introduce a single desk clearance system; simplifying all the procedures and streamlining the processes.
7: The government also plans on relaxing the existing stocking limit to an extent and also remove the necessity for permissions and fees for having a signboard on the establishment.
8: To facilitate easy transactions, the government will allow retailers to issue electronic bills to the customers; provided that the bill generating machines do not tamper with.
9: Projects with an investment of over Rs. 100 crore or with more than 2000 employees will be given mega-retailer status; to which the government will give additional, project-specific benefits.
10: Labour laws have been simplified and now, establishments can stay open 7 days a week, from 6 am to 11 pm; as long as the employees are not made to work for more than 8 hours a day and get mandatory weekly offs.
11: For women employees; it is the establishment’s responsibility to provide them with a safe and secure working environment and also to provide them with a safe mode of conveyance to and from their residence. This is something that has been seen only in the IT sector so far.
12: Food and Grocery business retail enterprise will be included under the Andhra Pradesh Essential Services Maintenance Act as ‘Essential Services’ to prevent strikes.
The policy, welcomed by the retail giants and the industry experts, makes AP stand ahead in attracting retail investments and job seekers in the state have much to rejoice.