Budget 2019: Pro-poor, pro-rural and pro-ease of doing business: Kumar Rajagopalan, RAI

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The streamlining of multiple labour laws into 4 labour codes will also have a positive effect on a labour-intensive industry like retail.

The Budget 2019-2020 seems to provide a sense of wellbeing for common citizens of India. With its focus firmly on accelerating country-wide development, the budget focused on a slew of measures for the rural sector, SMEs and startups. The measures for the rural sector including better infrastructure and road connectivity will boost consumption and make rural markets more accessible to modern retail.

The accordance of pension benefits to retail traders and shopkeepers with an annual turnover of less than Rs 1.5 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Karam Yogi Maan Dhan Scheme is indeed a laudable move. This is the first time that a budget has recognised the retail trader and the role of small retailers in the country.

The requirement to file quarterly returns for traders with an annual turnover of up to R 5 crore, as well as the announcement of the Sabka Vishwas Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme 2019 for the closure of pending matters in GST cases, are good moves that will give a breather to retailers.

The decision to waive off MDR on payments made using BHIM, UPI, Aadhaar Pay, NEFT and RTGS for business establishments with an annual turnover of Rs 50 crore is a good incentive to slightly larger retailers to move towards digital transactions.

Overall, the budget is pro-poor, pro-rural and pro-ease of doing business. It is a satisfactory budget that reaffirms the government’s commitment towards promoting ease of doing business. The simplification of the GST, the simplification of tax reforms and indirect taxes and the support to startups is all dovetailed towards ease of doing business.

[Kumar Rajagopalan is the CEO of Retailers Association of India (RAI)]