CPM proposes licence raj in retail trade

New Delhi, May 30 | Updated: May 31 2007, 05:30am hrs
Big corporate houses foraying into the retail sector could find their entry curtailed if the Left has its way. After prescribing parameters for SEZs, the CPI (M), which extends critical outside support to the UPA, has proposed stringent criteria for allowing even big domestic players in retail trade.

The objective, it says, is to prevent monopolisation and protect the local general stores. The proposal unveiled by party general secretary Prakash Karat on Wednesday has proposed that a system of licencing should be introduced for organised retail.

Targeting the big players, it says any retail outlet with a floor area exceeding a certain specification should require prior licence from local authories.

Licences should be given on the basis of a population criterion, i.e. not more than X number of large format retail stores per Y population, it says, adding that the parameters may vary between states and cities depending on the nature of the retail sector and the needs of consumers.

THE RETAIL JUGGERNAUT

Reliance Retail has announced 100 million square feet area of retail stores by 2010
Bharti plans 10 million sq ft front end space for retail by 2015. Back end will require more
The Future Group already has 4 million sq ft and plans to touch 40 million sq ft by 2010

The CPI (M) proposes that the board or committee granting license must have representation from street vendors and small retailer associations. It has also suggested penalties, including withdrawal of licences, for violation of the terms and conditions of licences.

Some people were complaining that by opposing FDI in retail we were supporting big industries like Reliance.

We want to make it clear that we stand for the millions of petty retailers who are at the receiving end due to the entry of Indian corporates in retail trade, Karat told reporters here on Wednesday after releasing the note.