Government to set up a welfare board for traders

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Published: July 30, 2019 2:57:20 AM

The industry ministry will set up the National Traders' Welfare Board to help improve access to funds, and suggest simplifications of the Acts and rules applicable to traders, an official source told FE.

The creation of the board, which has been approved by commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, was part of the BJP’s election manifesto for traders.

The industry ministry will set up the National Traders’ Welfare Board to help improve access to funds, and suggest simplifications of the Acts and rules applicable to traders, an official source told FE.

Although recommending changes to the FDI rules on e-commerce is not explicitly mentioned in the board’s objectives, the board may also offer its views periodically on these key issues as well as these rules directly affect traders.

The creation of the board, which has been approved by commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, was part of the BJP’s election manifesto for traders. The board will have a chairman to be nominated by the government, five experts having knowledge of technical and other aspects of the retail trade and 10 members from various trade associations.

The chairman will be a “person capable of representing the issues of traders”. It will make suggestions to trim the compliance burden by reducing the need for licences and will act as an intermediary between traders and the government, an official said. This apart, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade will soon come out with a national retail trade policy.

Keen to soften the twin blow of demonetisation and GST for traders, most of whom fall under the MSME category, the government has already asked chiefs of public sector banks (PSBs) to undertake an “in-depth analysis of the progress made and issues in availability of credit still faced by MSMEs”. RBI data showed credit to industry went up by just 6.9% year-on-year as of April 26, while overall non-food credit growth was as much as 11.9%.

Importantly, loans to industry were mostly cornered by large players and the growth in credit to micro and small units and medium enterprises was just 1% and 3.5%, respectively.

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