Now, model law to let shops re­main open 24x7 THE NEW LAW AND ITS IM­PLI­CA­TIONS

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

The Cen­tre has paved the way to turn In­dia into a 24x7 coun­try that keeps the doors of its com­mer­cial es­tab­lish­ments open to the pub­lic at any given time of the day. How­ever, there’s a rider – the states have to agree.

The Union cab­i­net on Wed­nes­day ap­proved the Model Shops and Es­tab­lish­ments Bill, which will per­mit shops, malls, restau­rants, banks and cin­ema halls to choose their hours of op­er­a­tion. Once adopted by states, in part or full, the model law will let es­tab­lish­ments em­ploy­ing 10 or more work­ers op­er­ate through the year – with flex­i­bil­ity of work hours. How­ever, it will not cover man­u­fac­tur­ing units.

An­nounc­ing the move, Union fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley said the Model Shops and Estab­lish­ment (Reg­u­la­tion of Em­ploy­ment and Con­di­tion of Ser­vices) Bill-2016 was aimed at en­sur­ing uni­form work­ing con­di­tions across the coun­try, im­prov­ing ease of do­ing busi­ness, and gen­er­at­ing em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. Lim­it­ing the hours of op­er­a­tion of smaller shops puts them at a dis­ad­van­tage be­cause com­mer­cial es­tab­lish­ments in malls have the ben­e­fit of stay­ing open on all days and for longer hours, he added.

Jait­ley said the model law will also do away with the “pos­i­tive dis­crim­i­na­tion” faced by women, who were ex­empt from work­ing the late shift but faced in­equal­ity in terms of work and pay. How­ever, es­tab­lish­ments cov­ered by the law will have to en­sure bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions for fe­male em­ploy­ees by es­tab­lish­ing fa­cil­i­ties such as late-night drops and crèches.

Once adopted by a state, the model law will al­low women to work nights. Also, they will not be dis­crim­i­nated with re­gard to re­cruit­ment, train­ing, trans­fers and pro­mo­tions.

The bill will now be sent to states and union ter­ri­to­ries, so they can adopt it in the cur­rent form or mod­ify its pro­vi­sions to their lik­ing.

How­ever, the Con­fed­er­a­tion of All In­dia Traders (CAIT) has cau­tioned that a law al­low­ing es­tab­lish­ments to re­main open 24x7 could ex­pose the trad­ing com­mu­nity to sev­eral threats. Stat­ing that it would have “far-reach­ing con­se­quences”, the traders’ body sug­gested that the gov­ern­ment first launch a pilot pro­ject in one city to as­sess its im­pact.

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