Chandigarh 10th October:- Federation of Retailer Association of India (FRAI), Punjab Chapter on Thursday raised its concerns against the suggested requirement of obtaining license for selling tobacco products by small and micro retailers.
Addressing a press conference at Chandigarh Press Club today, FRAI members said that this would lead to intense harassment of poor retailers and a sharp increase in the cost of doing business and reduction of their income. Also, no other states across India has such laws then why should Punjab have such punitive laws.
FRAI is a representative body of four crore micro, small and medium retailers across the country, with 34 retail associations from north, south, east and west as the members of Federation. It protect the interests of the poorest of the poor in the country and raise issues which impact the employment opportunities and render help to such people who are unable to express their views.
FRAI has sent an appeal to Punjab CM, Capt Amarinder Singh to protect the interests of over 1.5 lakh micro retailers and their family members who earn meagre sum to run their living and save them from the potential harassment. The traders community has hugely supported the current government in the recent past then why such laws which will deeply hurt their interests & impact their livelihood.
Explaining the issue, Upinder Chaurasia, member- FRAI and president of Retailers Association Mohali said that retailers who also sell tobacco in Punjab are already facing immense financial pressure because of extreme regulation of the tobacco industry. Together these measures will increase the cost of doing business for these poor retailers and a consequent reduction in their earnings to the extent of 60%-70%, which will be a big blow to our members.
FRAI members and representatives have been carrying out protests in Punjab to protect their interests. The members also gave a representation to Government officials, listing their demands.
Upinder Chaurasia said further that at a time when unemployment rates in the country are at their highest and our children and family members are not able to find appropriate employment, harassment and increase in the cost of doing business with a corresponding reduction in earnings would destroy us. Introduction of restrictions on selling of legal products is against the Government’s ‘ease of doing business’ in India policy. Any move that would increase the cost of doing business must be stopped immediately.
Restrictions on sale of any item would eat into the earnings and making survival difficult and pushing people to indulge in illegal practices, thereby creating a society of corrupt and unscrupulous that would deal with criminal elements, who control the illegal trade, which in the long run create a huge law an order problem, he maintained.