Indian cities’ law and order infrastructure is not ready to support 24X7 retail operations, as envisaged under a model law allowing shops, malls and other establishments to operate throughout the year, a survey said.
According to online citizen engagement platform LocalCircles, the Model Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016, will have a significant impact on the country’s business climate, market dynamics and employment rate.
The Bill was approved by the Cabinet recently, and needs to be ratified by states and Union Territories
However, a survey based on inputs from 12,788 citizens on LocalCircles noted that 73 per cent believe the cities’ law and order infrastructure is not ready to support 24X7 operations of malls, cinemas and eateries.
Asked whether they support malls and retail outlets functioning round-the-clock, 50 per cent of 10,487 respondents voted in the positive, while 49 per cent said ‘No’ and 1 per cent said ‘Can’t say’.
“The cause for concern is the safety of not only customers but also the employees who work in such outlets. Not every city has adequate police staff to monitor or protect these employees from the criminal elements who chose to operate at night,” the survey noted.
The law covers establishments employing 10 or more workers except manufacturing units and will provide freedom to operate 365 days with flexibility on timing to open and close.
It also provides for women to be employed on night shifts with adequate security and calls for better working conditions for employees such as drinking water, canteen, first aid, lavatory and creche.
The model law is aimed at generating additional employment as shops and establishments will have freedom to operate for longer hours requiring more manpower.
It also provides exemption to highly-skilled workers like those in IT and bio-technology from daily working hours (9 hours) and weekly working hours (48 hours).
The law is designed to bring in uniformity in legislative provisions, making it easier for all the states to adopt it and ensure uniform working conditions across the country.