New Delhi: The commerce and industry ministry will soon notify the constitution of a National Traders’ Welfare Board that will identify ways to improve access to funds for this unorganised sector and suggest measures to simplify acts and rules applicable to traders.
“The notification for constitution of the board will be issued soon," an official at the ministry said under condition of anonymity.
The board will also make recommendations to reduce the compliance burden of traders as well as to ensure social security benefits such as insurance, pension, and healthcare for traders and their employees.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in its party manifesto for the 2019 general elections had promised to establish a National Traders’ Welfare Board and also come up with a National Policy for Retail Trade. “To protect the interests of small traders, we will provide an accident insurance of ₹10 lakh to all the traders registered under GST (goods and services tax)," the party said in the manifesto.
The government in January renamed the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) as the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT), giving it the additional responsibility of welfare of traders and their employees.
The board will be headed by a joint secretary in the DPIIT and will include representatives from other ministries.
The DPIIT has also started consultation for the National Retail Policy to streamline retail trade in India by enhancing their ease of doing business.
The Narendra Modi government in its first cabinet meeting after coming back to power, on 3 June, approved a mega pension scheme under which all shopkeepers, retail traders, and self-employed persons are guaranteed a monthly pension of ₹3,000 once they attain the age of 60 years.
The scheme aims to benefit more than 3 crore traders and shopkeepers.
The scheme is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme on a 50:50 basis where a prescribed age-specific contribution shall be made by the beneficiary and a matching contribution by the central government.