Soon it would be possible to shop till the wee hours in Karnataka. Retailers are more bullish about the ease of doing business and increase in sales as the government has permitted shops and commercial establishments to be open on a 24x7 basis. Retailers Association of India (RAI) on Tuesday said the move by the government would enable an increase in employment by up to 9 per cent and grow sales by at least 3 per cent in the retail sector in Karnataka in the next three years.
RAI said the retail community is pleased with the Karnataka government notification permitting all shops and commercial establishments in the state, employing ten or more persons, to be open on 24x7 basis on all days of the year for a period of three years, subject to the conditions mentioned in the notification. Though the notification was issued recently, RAI said it wanted to assess the impact and sentiment related to it among the retailer community in the state.
“We are expecting the move would increase the employment by up to 9 per cent and grow sales by at least 3 per cent in the retail sector in Karnataka in the next three years. In most cases, wherever it has been implemented, we have seen the employment has gone up,” Kumar Rajagopalan, chief executive officer of RAI told Business Standard. “It is a win-win situation for customers, retailers and the government. When the retailers see there are many customers who want to shop, they would keep their stores open and the (business) won’t get stuck due to some kind of (restrictions). An increase in business would also bring much more money to the exchequer. Definitely, for the retailers, they would get better sales and they don't necessarily need to go to various people to try and get (different) permissions,” said Rajagopalan.
The Central Government introduced 'The Model Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Services) Act 2016 which has been one of the key asks of the Retailers Association of India for the overall benefit and the growth of the Indian retail sector. RAI has been pursuing all the State Governments to adopt the Model Act for enabling Ease of Doing Business.
The State Government of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have already adopted the Model Bill. Furthermore, RAI has worked with the Karnataka Government for formulating their State Level Retail Trade Policy.
The notification says the employer shall appoint additional staff in order to allow every employee to avail one day off in a week on a rotation basis. The wages including overtime wages of the employees shall be credited to their savings bank account. An employer shall not require or allow any person employed to work for more than eight hours a day and forty-eight hours in any week. Also, the period of work including overtime shall not exceed ten and a half hours in any day and fifty-seven hours a week. If employees are found working on any holiday or after normal duty hours without proper indent of overtime, penal action shall be initiated against the employer or manager as laid down in the Karnataka Shops and Establishments Act, 1961, and Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Rules 1963.
The notification says women employee shall not be allowed to work beyond 8.00 pm on any day in normal circumstances. However, after obtaining written consent from a woman employee, the employer may allow her to work between 8.00 pm and 6.00 am. But this is subject to providing adequate protection to her dignity, honour and safety. The transport arrangements shall be provided to the female employee who works in shifts. A notice to this effect shall be exhibited at the main entrance of the shop or commercial establishment indicating the availability of the transport. The notification also says the employees shall be provided with restroom, washroom, safety lockers and other basic amenities.