RAI Advocacy updates – October 2013

I.   RAI files petition challenging GHMC’s circular

I. GHMC blog

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RAI submitted a representation to the Commissioner of GHMC stating the impracticalities in implementation of the circular to incentivize jute/cotton carry bags. Please click here to view the circular issued by GHMC and here to view the representation by RAI. After viewing RAI’s representation, GHMC commissioner called a meeting and released the Press Notice stating that plastic carry bags can still continue to be charged with rates of Rs. 2/- & Rs. 5/-, based on sizes; notice encouraging Jute / Cotton / Paper Bags should be displayed in retail stores and retailers should display the board stating the cost of carry bags and incentive being paid to the customer those who carry Jute / Cotton Bag w.e.f. 15th Sep 2013 as mandatory with the below slab:

  • No Incentive for shopping below Rs. 500/-
  • Rs. 2/- as Incentive for Shop Rs. 500/- to Rs. 1000/- and
  • Rs. 5/- as Incentive for Shop of Rs. 1000/- & above.

Challenging the circulars, RAI has filed a writ petition in Andhra Pradesh High Court and the matter came up for hearing. The respondent has asked for a time of two weeks to file a counter affidavit to which the Judge agreed.

 II.    Enhancing FII investment in Retail

II. FII blog

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RAI had submitted a representation to the Ministry of Finance seeking enhancement of FII limit in retail. In this regard, RAI delegates met Dr. P K Mishra, Dr. C S Mohapatra, Mr. P K Bagga and Mr. Manu Vettickan from the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. The officials of the Department of Economic Affairs appreciated our concern and assured that they will take up the matter with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and take positive action in order to benefit the retail industry. Please click here to view the representation submitted to the Ministry of Finance.

III.  Forum to exchange views on Tax related issues by Ministry of Finance 

Ministry of Finance has constituted a Forum Chaired by Dr. Parthasarathi Shome, Adviser to the Finance Minister, for Exchange of Views between Industry Groups and Government on Tax Related Issues or Tax Related Disputes. We have submitted a representation to Dr. Shome and are seeking an appointment of a high-level retail industry delegation in the forum. The tax related issues are addressed in the representation are: Levy of Service Tax on Renting of immovable properties; Service Tax on Electricity Reimbursement to Landlords; TDS on Credit Card Commission; and Input Tax Credit of VAT Paid on Purchase of Capital Assets. Please click here to view the representation submitted.

IV.   Retail as an essential service and giving IT Industry status

To ensure that occurrences like bandh do not disrupt the regular functioning of retailers, RAI has urged Shri. Prithviraj Chauhan, Chief Minister, Maharashtra to declare retail as an essential service in Maharashtra. Giving retail the treatment of essential service will ensure that no undue influence is created to compulsorily shut stores and take a hit on sales. Moreover, RAI also insisted that retail be included in reserved category and tax rates as provided to industrial sector should be provided to retail sector.

V.  RAI representatives meet Legal Metrology Director

RAI represented to the Legal Metrology Department stating that since the responsibility of labelling is of the manufacturer/packer, it is not right to penalize a retailer with similar penalties as applicable to the manufacturer who merely stocks their (manufacturer’s) produce to make it available to consumer and has nothing to do with the declarations made on the packs. Further to it, RAI representatives met Mr. B N Dixit, Director, Legal Meteorology Department.

Mr. BN Dixit appreciated our concern and stated that the liability of retailers is now reduced as compared to manufacturers/packers. Please find the notification giving the reduced liability for retailers here.

VI.  RAI meets Insecticide Board Chairman

RAI representatives met Dr. Gurbachan Singh, Chairman of Insecticide Board and Dr. BS Phogat, Chief Secretary of Insecticide Board asking to have a classification of insecticides on the basis of risk posed. Dr. Gurbachan Singh and Dr. BS Phogat appreciating our concern asked us to address the concern to the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture. Please click here to view the representation submitted to the Insecticide Board.

VII.  Zero Percent EMI Schemes

RBI blog

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RAI represented to the Reserve Bank of India seeking a change in the rule to ban zero per cent interest rate scheme for purchase of consumer goods. As 20-30 per cent of consumer sales happen via such zero per cent EMI schemes, banning such schemes would have detrimental implications for the retailers. RAI submitted that instead of banning, RBI could have laid down guidelines for disclosure/structuring of scheme by banks which would lead to a greater transparency to customer. Click here to view the representation to RBI. We requested Indian Banks’ Association to submit a similar representation to RBI which was not done by them. We received a reply from RBI stating that they appreciate our concern but the instructions are for the banking sector and they have not received any representation from them.

 VIII.   Tax on footwear

RAI submitted a representation to the Ministry of Finance to allow footwear industry the same taxation status as the textile industry. VAT on footwear ranges from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent in different states, whereas VAT on readymade garments is 5 per cent in all states. We submitted that garment and footwear are apparels that are to be worn to cover the body and under the international Harmonized System Code, footwear is placed alongside textile which makes it imperative to grant the same taxation structure as textile industry. Click here to view the representation submitted.

 

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RAI
Retailers Association of India (RAI) is the unified voice of Indian retailers. RAI is a not for profit organization (registered under section 25 of Companies Act, 1956), works with all the stakeholders for creating the right environment for the growth of the modern retail industry in India. RAI is the body that encourages, develops, facilitates and supports retailers to become modern and adopt best practices that will delight customers. RAI has a three charter aim of Retail Development, Facilitation and Propagation.