There are a host of substantial announcements that will enhance the logistics capabilities of retailers.
Budget 2021 is growth-oriented, well balanced and progressive. Overall, it is a popular budget
without being populist.
The retail industry was almost squashed during the pandemic. It is slowly getting back on its knees with the opening up of the economy. The budget has announced initiatives which touch all segments of the society – women, farmers, entrepreneurs, rural and urban consumers.
The positives for retail are the overall thrust on ease of doing business and compliance and infrastructure development.
There are a host of substantial announcements that will enhance the logistics capabilities of retailers, which are welcome as retail is heavily dependent on the easy movement of goods and people.
The on-going pandemic has created an additional financial burden on the government. Although no significant change was made in the area of income tax, the budget has allayed the fear of increased taxes on account of COVID-19, which is a big relief in itself. Furthermore, the changes to Income tax appeal and assessments will also give additional ease of working and freedom from harassment for businesses.
The apprenticeship program has been a successful step towards providing employable youth to the industry. The allocation of additional Rs.3000 crores towards this program is a good move as the retail industry which is already greatly benefited by the NAPS programme will further benefit from the fresh skilled talent infusion.
Women form a big percentage of talent in the retail industry. The honourable Finance Minister’s thrust on ease of doing business by allowing women to work in all categories without restrictions is a very welcome move.
Kumar Rajagopalan is the CEO of Retailers Association of India (RAI).