The government has ruled out setting up of a regulatory authority for the retail sector. In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, minister of state for commerce and industry S Jagathrakshakan said no such proposal is being considered.
The minister acknowledged that the parliamentary standing committee on commerce has recommended the constitution of a retail regulatory authority.
In its report on foreign and domestic investment in retail sector the committee has argued for such a committee “to look into the problems and to act as a whistle blower in case on anti-competitive behaviour and abuse of dominance,” he said. The government has okayed far reaching changes in foreign investment rules for the sector which has also been ratified by Parliament in this winter session.
To another query on the operating position of the big retailers including retail chains like Reliance fresh, Bharti Retail and Aditya Birla Retail, the minister said the three companies posted a total loss of nearly Rs 1,200 crore in 2010-11.
As per the financial statement filed by Reliance Fresh, the company posted a net loss of Rs 345.82 crore during 2010-11, he said.
Aditya Birla Retail had a net loss of Rs 423.1 crore during 2010-11 while Bharti Retail Ltd had a net loss of Rs 394.32 crore during the period January 1, 2011, to December 12, 2011, he said.
On whether introduction of FDI in multi-brand retail would wipe out existing 15 million retailers in India, the minister defended the government’s decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in the sector and said, “The government was conscious of the livelihood concerns of the millions of small retailers.”