Exclusive: RIP MRP? Products may not have to bear price stamp soon

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Shreya Nandi

Moneycontrol News

The Maximum Retail Price (MRP) label on your everyday products may soon be a thing of the past.

The government is considering letting companies do away with the mandatory practice, which global retailers find restrictive, as part of broad plans to ease regulations.

“Certain single brand retailers that want to invest in the Indian market say that getting an MRP stamp [that displays price of a particular product] on every item in the store is a cumbersome process,” a senior government official told Moneycontrol.

The official said that in most countries, displaying the MRP tag is not compulsory as the price is generally labelled on the shelf where a bunch of products are displayed.

In India, the Legal Metrology Act governed by the consumer affairs departments stipulates that products sold through a single brand retail store must bear a price tag.

Doing away with the MRP tag may require legislative changes, including amendments in the law.

Besides, rules will have to framed in a manner that will allow standard pricing of goods sold over the counter in neighbourhood mom-and-pop stores and not leave any scope for arbitrary price setting.

The official said the government is looking to align with global practices. While presenting the Union Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had declared the government’s intent to abolish the Foreign Investment Promotion Board  and replace it with a new system as part of the government’s broader strategy to ease Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules, remove procedural delays and turn India into a global investment hotspot.

“Our government has already undertaken substantive reforms in FDI policy in the last two years,” Jaitley had said. “More than 90 percent of the total FDI inflows are now through the automatic route. We have now reached a stage where FIPB can be phased out. We have therefore decided to abolish the FIPB in 2017-18.”

In line with the Finance Minister’s Budget announcement, the government is looking at modifying and reversing certain procedures that are proving hurdles in attracting more investments, the official said.

“Now we have to focus more on liberalising the process which will ensure more investments and ease of doing business in the investment processes. As far as liberalising the FDI policy is concerned, there is not much left,” the official said.

A new mechanism will replace FIPB that will hasten processes and approvals, often cited by global corporations for delaying investment plans.

Foreign direct investment inflows into the country were USD 46.40 billion, during January-December, 2016 - up 18 percent over the same period last year.

 

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