Finding shops and stores that function 24×7 in India is near impossible.
But if you visit any place in Gujarat, you’ll be up for a surprise!
In a landmark move, on Wednesday, May 1, the state government of Gujarat put into effect the legislation that proposed to amend the Shops and Establishment Act. The bill allows shops across the state to function 24 hours.
Incidentally, May 1 marks the state foundation day.
The announcement was made by Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who added that it is a first in the country for any state to implement such a law.
As reported by The Indian Express, Patel mentioned that the bill was originally passed in the previous assembly session, and later approved by President Ram Nath Kovind.
“Implementing the bill will allow various shops in the state to function 24 hours and will generate more employment opportunities for youth,” he said.
The bill intends to improve working conditions, increase job opportunities for women and provide a favourable environment for business, with the overall goal of increasing jobs, especially in the retail, IT, hospitality and services sectors.
However, the most significant aspect of this bill is that it gives women the opportunity to work late hours with their consent, on the condition that these places of employment ensure basic infrastructure and provisions for safety and security.
Another crucial feature of this bill includes limiting the working hours to nine.
“No worker shall be required or allowed to work in any shop or establishment for more than nine hours in any day and 48 hours a week. No worker shall be compelled to work continuously for more than five hours unless he has been given a break of not less than half-an-hour,” as stated in the bill.
With this bill in action, any shop or establishment in the municipal corporation areas, national highways, railway platforms, state roadways, bus station premises, hospital premises, petrol pumps can remain open 24 hours throughout the week.
However, certain zones may be subject to this clause. For example, shops located in the municipality area or along state highways may be closed from 2-6 am, while shops located within the district or along minor roads may close from 11 pm-6 am.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)