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24/7 biz: Retailers worry about security

By Karan Choudhury
July 01, 2016 08:58 IST
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A shopping mall

 

The Bill provides establishments employing 10 or more workers the freedom to operate 365 days a year, with flexibility in opening and closing time.

Law and order and financial viability seem to be the main concerns of retailers a day, after the Union Cabinet cleared the Model Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016.

Some state governments are also wondering how they will manage with limited resources.

The Bill will soon be sent to states for consultation.

The Bill provides establishments employing 10 or more workers the freedom to operate 365 days a year, with flexibility in opening and closing time.

Delhi government officials said the city already had an Act in place and the city government might only pick up provisions from the model law if feasible.

“Having a blanket law for all areas is not possible.

"To run 24/7 establishments require infrastructure such as public transport.

"Electricity consumption will also go up, so we will have to consider all that,” said a Delhi government official.

“If shops are allowed to stay open round the clock all government agencies monitoring trade and commerce should also be kept open in order to keep a check on commercial activities,” said Praveen Khandelwal, national secretary-general of the Confederation of All-India Traders.

“Will the police provide security we need to function at night?

A pilot project in select areas should be undertaken to see if it is feasible to run all-night establishments,” he added.

“It is a logistics nightmare to provide security to major establishments such as malls at night.

Not only law and order, we have to maintain a vigil against terrorist attacks as well,” said a Delhi Police officer.

“Food and entertainment establishments will welcome the decision.

We are engaging with the authorities on issues of infrastructure and law and order,” said Pushpa Bector, head, DLF Mall of India.

  “International tourists who are exposed to the comfort of shopping without time constraints will welcome the move.

However, like any breakthrough concept, the results for this too will not be seen overnight,” said Sanjay Vakharia, chief operating officer, Spykar Lifestyle.

FAST FACTS

  • Women will now be permitted work 24/7 but have to be provided with safe transportation services and other related facilities such as creches during night schedules.
  • The Act will provide exemption to highly-skilled workers like those in IT and bio-technology from daily working hours (9 hours) and weekly working hours (48 hours).
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Karan Choudhury in New Delhi
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