The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said that the Government’s decision to allow round the clock working hours of the shops and other business establishments is bound to pose several threats to the trading community and has suggested for a pilot project to be carried out in any one big market to understand the impact of this policy.
“A study must be done to understand the quantum of increase in footfall in markets if shops are open in the night viz-a-viz establishment expenses,” CAIT said in a statement on Thursday.
“If shops are allowed to open 24×7 then all such Government agencies which are monitoring trade and commerce namely Food & Drugs Department, Legal Metrology, Taxation Department, Municipal Corporation, Banks etc. should also be opened in order to keep a check on commercial activities.”
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a Model Shops and Establishments (regulation of employment and conditions of services) Act which proposes to allow malls, cinema halls, restaurants and other retailing establishments to remain open on all days, 24X7.
The Cabinet approval, however, does not mean it has become a law as the onus will be on the state governments to adopt the Central Government’s proposed Model Act for retailing. The act will also not go to the Parliament as it is just a model legislation and is not binding on states.
CAIT said that this decision will have far reaching consequences in terms of law & order, environment, health, social and family issues.
“Even in the day working hours, the law and order situation is not so good. What will happen when shops & other business establishments will open throughout the night? Will the law enforcing agencies be able to provide enough security to markets? It is a well-known fact that both life and property is at stake especially if shops are open in night,” National President, CAIT, BC Bhartia and National secretary general, CAIT, Praveen Khandelwal, asked.
“Additionally, in the event of Govt agencies sleeping at a time when commercial activities are taking place, illegal or counterfeit activities may take place since no agency will be there to monitor them. It may also prove to be detrimental to consumers and their interests remain unprotected,” they added.
CAIT also said that the bill attempts to discriminate between the small and big traders.
“Big retailers and big companies in retail have hailed the decision since they personally do not operate their respective stores and are in a comfortable position to open their shops, malls and other establishments round the clock whereas in case of small businesses, the owner has to remain present in person and expecting a person to work round the clock seems to be grave injustice.”