Wednesday said implementation of the new uniform tax regime -- Goods
and Services Tax (GST) -- is likely to play a bigger role for the
retail industry, than foreign direct investment. "Foreign direct
investment (FDI) will be a game-changer but an even bigger
game-changer will be GST. I see this happening in the next 12-18
months. This will make the ground even," Biyani, who runs the
country's largest organised retail chain under the Big bazaar brand,
told the two-day India Retail Forum which began in Mumbai on
The existing regulations do not allow FDI in multi-brand front-end
retail, while 100 % FDI is allowed in wholesale retail. The government
is now toying with the idea of allowing 51 % FDI in multi-brand
retail, but a final call is yet to be taken.
"GST is a bigger game-changer because everybody will be on a
level-playing field. Today small retailers have bigger advantage as
the tax they pay is different," he said.
Introduction of GST would subsume Central and state taxes like excise,
customs, service tax, sales tax and VAT.
A Constitution amendment Bill had already been introduced in the Lok
Sabha for rolling out GST in the Budget session, but is pending for
parliamentary approval as the finance ministry has so far been unable
to elicit support from the opposition block, especially the Bharatiya
The BJP-ruled states are opposing the current amount of revenue
compensation that the states would be getting from the Centre post-GST
roll-out. They also have apprehensions about losing fiscal and
financial autonomy under the proposed GST regime.