Narendra Modi bats for e-commerce, technology in retail sector

Narendra Modi bats for e-commerce, technology in retail sector
BJP's candidate for prime minister, Narendra Modi, laid out a broad economic policy for India on Thursday that encouraged family-owned businesses to embrace technology and competition.

Speaking at a gathering of the Confederation of All India Traders in New Delhi, Modi, who has been a vocal supporter of small business in the past, said small traders should adapt to a changed marketplace by improving the quality of their goods, so they could work with large online retailers, rather than fear the e-commerce market.

"We should not worry about the challenges from global trade," Modi said.

"From a pragmatic perspective, he has to take decisions in the broader national interests if he is talking as a prime ministerial candidate," Sujan Hajra, chief economist and executive director of institutional equity at Anand Rathi Financial Services in Mumbai told the New York Times. "He cannot be opposed to big-format, organised domestic retail and e-commerce because that is the reality today."

Prominent players in the e-commerce space welcomed Narendra Modi's stance for pushing for the use of technology in retail.

CEO of Smile Group Harish Bahl said: "We have been appealing to the government to create the right policies for growth of the e-commerce industry, which will enable access to foreign capital and allow us to source at scale from small and medium businesses from across the country."

"While we still await some decision from the current government, we are hopeful and very happy to Modi articulate our views on the subject and thankful for his support".

Modi made a strong pitch for usage of technology to boost commercial activities in the country and to overcome the fear of global challenges.

"Technology will further push the growth of the retail sector and not dislodge it and Modi has put this in the correct perspective. The restriction on the entry of foreign direct investment into the market will limit the potential of the industry in both the short and long terms," CEO of Manmohan Agarwal said.

Over the last few months e-commerce players have been urging the government to allow FDI in the sector to enable the industry to access foreign capital and expertise.

The players consisting of mostly first-generation entrepreneurs have underlined the need to remove sector-based barriers in business citing need to enable inflow of foreign capital, expertise and knowledge that will propel the Indian e-commerce industry into its next phase of growth.

Written with agency inputs

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