Towards a round the clock economy

Towards a round the clock economy

As an enabling measure to create additional employment in the services sector, the Centre has suggested a model law for the states to allow malls, cinemas, shops and restaurants to remain open 24X7 all through the year. The Model Shops and Establishment Bill will cover establishments employing 10 or more workers and clearly spells out the conditions like working hours, weekly offs for employees and their annual leaves. Importantly, the draft bill which the states can modify, permits putting women on night shifts subject to adequate standards of safety and their dignity. On the face of it, the measure appears to be quite progressive both for the business and the customers, especially in big cities, which need to adopt to cosmopolitan culture and become vibrant at par with the happening places like New York, London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong. It is also a move towards employment generation.

Since trade is a state subject, the Centre has left it entirely to the state governments to implement the model Act as per their specific requirements. While some states like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have shown progressive mindset, the problems lie at the level of implementation. It would not be suffice to pass a law in isolation unless the other building blocks are in place. They include, efficient and safe public transport, safety of women who would go out to work at night but also those who would like stay out late night either in a shopping mall, restaurant or a cinema hall. The entire eco system must be put in place in a holistic manner in a perfect coordination among agencies like Metro rail, city bus operators, police, taxi and autorickshaw unions and power distribution firms for ensuring uninterrupted current inside the estab-
lishments as also for street lights.

As regards allowing women on night duty, the measure may not succeed since the employers, especially having smaller operations, would not agree to spend on the mandatory provisions for safety, sanitation, transportation, crèche etc. On the contrary, more stiff the provisions, lesser would be employment opportunities for women since they would be left out by the employers at the recruitment stage itself. The trouble in several cities like Delhi is that even the society at large is not prepared for so-called night life which is perceived to be all mischief. A large blame for lack of confidence in the night life lies in lack of safety and transport infrastructure. All the same, a beginning must be made.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)