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‘To boost retail business is to de-regulate it, and introduce more reforms’,



IMG_9503 mti newsMumbai, 2 September, 2016: Retail in India presently operates under challenging and complex legal regimes covering several central, state and local laws. Not only do these laws prescribe business entry conditions but they also significantly influence the operative business model of retailers, often impending the business they are trying to regulate. To help retailers smoothly navigate the complex regulatory maze and to collectively work towards solutions for common issues, the Retailers Association of India hosted the second edition of the Retail Regulatory Summit (RRS) 2016.

Echoing the sentiments of the legal representatives in retail, Ameet Naik, Founder & Managing Partner, Naik Naik & Company said in his keynote address, “Retail is an important pillar of our economy. And what it needs to flourish is minimum number of regulations. I urge the government to: De-regulate, less legislate and allow free business.”

Agreeing with the keynote speaker, Pulin Kumar, Sr Group Director (Legal & Compliance) – Adidas India Pvt Ltd said, “The state of regulations in the country is such that sometimes, doing business is one thing and complying to regulations is quite another.”

“Certain key reforms are required for betterment of retail,” said Raghu Pilaka, VP (Special Projects) – Reliance Market, adding that there have been a lot of welcome changes in attitude of government at all levels with regards to ease of doing business.

Kumar Rajagopalan, Chief Executive Officer, RAI lauded the government and the administrators for being open to sympathetic towards the issues of retailers and open to suggestions and growth. On the way forward, he said, “Our experience dealing with the government has been quite positive. Government officials are indeed keen on facilitating ease of doing business.” Espousing the need for doing their bit as retailers, he said, “As much as we ask things from the government, it is the of advocacy stalwarts in retail to ensure that we support the government too. If we are able to do this, we will not only be contributing to building a stronger industry but also to the nation. Platforms such as the Retail Regulatory Summit help bringing together the legal fraternity in retail to convene and deliberate on urgent and important issues and what we can together do with all stakeholders to take the industry ahead.”

The key note address was followed by a stimulating panel discussion on the theme of the summit, ‘Re-forming Retail Regulations, that saw Pankaj Patel, Head Legal (Corporate Planning) – Future Group; Prashant Mehta – Shoppers Stop Ltd; Pulin Kumar, Sr Group Director (Legal & Compliance) – Adidas India Pvt Ltd; Ramaprasad S, Sr VP (Group Legal & Secretarial) – Lifestyle International (P) Ltd; Shefali Shyam, Head (Legal) – Arvind Brands; Vinay Gupta, Head (Legal & Secretarial) – Inorbit Malls Pvt Ltd ‘exchanging views on the topic. Raghu Pilaka, VP (Special Projects) – Reliance Market moderated the discussion.

The other highlight of the summit was the session on Food Safety & Standards Act (FSSA) & related regulations. Attended by Gopal Naik, Sr VP & Head (Legal & Compliance) – ABRL & ABFRL (Pantaloons), GR Srikkanth, VP (Legal) – Spencers’ Retail Ltd, Monali Mahajan, Head (Legal) – Tata Hypermarket Ltd, Dr Prabodh Halde, Head Regulatory – Marico Ltd, Dr Shatadru Sengupta, Sr Director (Legal) – Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd and moderated by Raghu Guda, Director – Ernst & Young.

The other session that brought issues of retail to fore was: Regulatory Challenges in Retail Trade and The Way Forward moderated by Gopal Naik, Sr VP & Head (Legal & Compliance) – ABRL & ABFRL (Pantaloons). Panellists for the session included: Ashish Kumar Das, Head (Legal & Compliance) – Vishal Retail Ltd, Jaffar Panjwani, Sr GM (Legal) – Shoppers Stop Ltd; Madhusudan Desai, COO – Lakewood Malls Pvt Ltd; Naveen H, CEO – Timezone Entertainment Pvt Ltd and Rajneesh Kumar, Sr VP (Corporate Affairs) – Walmart India.

The summit is an attempt to create a forum for discussion on understanding and addressing the various aspects of legal and compliance’s that govern and influence retail business and deliberate upon the current and emerging issues and challenges face in the retail community.