Maharashtra brings in bill to relax rules, cut red tape for shops with less than 10 workers (Article on Times of India)

In a bid to promote the ease of business, the Maharashtra government on Monday introduced a bill in the state assembly to relax rules for shops and establishments employing less than 10 persons.

The bill proposes that such establishments will no longer need to be registered to operate, will be easier to open and close and will be free from inspections on labour compliance.

Officials added that all shops and establishments will have to comply with key labour laws like the Minimum Wages Act and Mater nity Benefits. However, welfare facilities like a creche or canteen will be left to the discretion of the employer in units with less than 10 workers.

Officials said that if the bill goes through, it will cut red tape and boost employment in small establishments. "They will be free of inspector raj. In fact, inspectors can focus on the larger establishments," said a senior government official. However, trade unions fear that it will make workers more vulnerable. "Essentially there will be little labour compliance," said Sanjay Wadhavkar of Hind Mazdoor Sabha.

Maharashtra has 38 lakh establishments. Of these, around 13 lakh have less than 10 workers, according to official data.

The bill proposes that when an establishment with less than 10 workers begins business, it has to send an intimation in the form of an online application and self-certified documents to a state appointed facilitator. The nature of business and the number of employees will also be part of a self-declaration.When the establishment closes, it has to notify the facilitator in 30 days.

The fact that no registration is needed for establishments with less than 10 people means that they will be free of inspections, officials said. In establishments with more employees, inspectors have to examine the premises to report compliance of the regulations.

Earlier this year, the state amended the Contract Labour Act to substantially reduce the number of establishments covered by this law in the state.

Source: Article on Times of India

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