The Retailers
Association of India (RAI) expects the government to announce schemes
that will put more money in the hands of consumers in the forthcoming budget as
two consecutive years of the pandemic have affected the purchasing power
of households.

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The $854
billion retail sector was one of the sectors hurt most by the pandemic. The
sector is slowly recovering with the opening up of the economy. It
expects the budget to introduce growth-oriented policies and measures to boost
the local economy and help revive the retail industry, saving millions of jobs.

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“Many were
without jobs thanks to reverse migration and lockdowns. Any scheme that helps
increase the spending power of the poor would be welcome. Similarly, the
salaried class also needs more money to help them consume with confidence.
Rising inflation is a worry, and this can be faced better only with more money
in the hands of the consuming class,” the association said.

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government brought in retail and wholesale trade under the Micro, Small, and
Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) category in July 2021. The retail sector was
recently considered for priority lending. 

The RAI also
sought Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for credit in the retail
sector as lockdowns continue to hurt restaurants and salons. It also wants a
more predictable GST regime and clarity on several clauses on carrying forward
and refunding of GST.

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The body
sought better infrastructure spending, saying, “All transport infrastructure
work helps create new jobs as well as better connectivity for movement of
goods and people. This results in saving time, reducing supply chain wastage,
and better movement of the workforce. Similarly, any expenditure on new sources
of energy helps retail access electricity at better prices.”

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Finance Minister Nirmala
Sitharaman will present the Union Budget 2022 in Parliament on February 1 at 11