Expressing concern over a lukewarm response on allowing small and medium scale shop-keepers to remain open for all seven days, the ASSOCHAM has impressed upon the Centre to ask the states to realise benefits of model Shops and Establishments Bill and adopt the same , for promoting retail trade which is the largest sector employer in the country.
Only Rajasthan has so far initiated an exercise for bringing in legislative provisions in sync with the model Bill proposed by the Centre over a year ago, in the Finance Minister`s Budget speech of 2016-17. The state has begun work on bringing amendments in the Rajasthan Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1958 to permit the small traders to keep their shops and retail outlets open throughout the week.
“As per the Outcome Budget of 2016-17, while the Labour and Employment Minister and other senior officers in the Union ministry have written to the states for adoption of the model bill, the states too need to realise importance of the measure which can immediately bring good results and add to employment and consumer demand”, ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat said.
He said, it was rightly stressed by the Centre that if the large shopping malls can remain open all seven days of the week, why not the small and medium shops?.
Needless to say the interests of the workers employed in the shops and small outlets should be protected and they should not be made to work in double shifts without additional benefits. Besides, safety and security of the staff working late hours, particularly for women should be ensured.
“The states need to work closely with Centre and create an eco system for making our urban landscape more safe and vibrant. The security of citizens should remain the key area of priority. Thus, the blueprint must be made in a perfect coordination of all the civic agencies like those in-charge of street lights, city transport including metro rail and the citizens societies” the chamber said.
But, surely the measure would boost the traditional bazaars helping them modernize in their systems of stocking and sale. Moreover, getting them into the formal sector, would be a great booster to the economy. Besides, the sector provides a low hanging fruit for employment creation.
“Cities with large population and those attracting domestic and foreign tourists could benefit a lot if the markets become more productive” the chamber added.