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Centre to set up 20 lakh 'Suraksha' retail shops to provide daily essentials

Monday, 13 Apr 2020
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The Central government is planning to set up a chain of 20 lakh retail shops called 'Suraksha Stores' across India which will provide daily essentials to citizens while maintaining stringent safety norms.

The Suraksha Stores initiative will convert neighbourhood kirana stores into sanitised retail outlets selling daily essentials while adhering to safety norms such as social distancing and sanitisation to control the spread of Coronavirus.

The government will rope in private firms to implement the plan, which seeks to ensure that proper protocol is followed in the entire supply chain, right from manufacturing units to retail outlets. The government is targeting the outlets over the next 45 days. 

Each FMCG company might be given one or two states to execute this plan in an effective manner and enable every store to fight the virus. To become a 'Suraksha Store', a retail store will have to comply with a health and safety checklist, which includes social distancing of 1.5 mtr outside the shop as well as billing counters, use of sanitiser or handwash by consumers before entering shops, provision of masks to all staff and sanitisation of high touch areas twice a day.

The 'Suraksha Store' will not only be for groceries but also consumer durables, apparel and salons. The government is planning to create Suraksha Store and Suraksha Circle to ensure hygiene and safety norms across the supply chain. More than 50 top FMCG companies have been approached.

FMCG companies will be asked to provide training and mobilise health kits (masks, gloves, sanitisers) to enable retail outlets to become 'Suraksha Stores'. Big industries would similarly help wholesalers and other smaller units. As per the plan, each retail outlet will have to prominently display 'Suraksha Store' to customers.

Educational posters related to hygiene and safety would also be displayed in the store. Similarly, the Consumer Affairs Ministry is working on creating 'Suraksha Circle' where lead manufacturing plants will help their business partners and smaller factories in their vicinity to ensure safe environment across the product supply chain.

Each lead manufacturing plant is expected to adopt 10 SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and one village in order to achieve the target to bring 50,000 SMEs and 5,000 communities under Suraksha Circle.

According to the plan, an online training certification programme will be created for Suraksha Stores and Suraksha Circle to ensure awareness about COVID-19 protocols for supply of essential commodities as per the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

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