he Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Thursday cleared the Bill that allows shops and establishments to operate round the clock and remain open all seven days in a week. At present, shops have to be shut by 10 pm while restaurants can run till 12:30 am. The Devendra Fadnavis government has justified the major reform, claiming it was a step towards improving the ease of doing business in the state. “The recent advancements in information and technology has revolutionised the mode of trading, making it possible to sell goods and services online without any physical, geographical and time limitations. To allow offline businesses to compete with the online businesses, it has become necessary to permit shops and establishments for 24 hours and all days in a week,” state Labour Minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar has said.
Incidentally, Shiv Sena’s heir apparent Aditya Thackeray was locked in the politics of credit over the reform with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over the issue.
The provisions of the new bill apply to shops, residential hotels, restaurants, theatres and amusement places to which the provisions of the Factories Act do not apply. It also applies to establishments, which include businesses involved in banking, stocks, medical practice, architects, engineers, accountants, tax consultants and professional consultants. There are over 38.5 lakh such establishments in the state.