Starting next week, over 300 establishments ranging from hotels, restaurants, and eateries to online delivery services of food, medicines, logistics and other essential commodities, transport and travel services, apart from KPOs and BPOs will be able to operate the business on a 24×7 basis in Delhi.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has approved a proposal to exempt 314 such applications, some of them pending since 2016. The LG has directed that notification to this effect be issued within seven days.
The decision, providing exemption under Sections 14, 15 and 16 of the Delhi Shops & Establishment Act, 1954, is expected to boost employment generation and promote a positive and a favorable business environment along with also providing a fillip to the much desired ‘nightlife in the city.
The exemptions under Sections 14, 15 & 16 of the said Act enable commercial establishments to operate on a 24X7 basis, subject to certain conditions that entail the welfare of labour and security, etc.
Approving the proposal, the Lieutenant Governor took a very serious view and flagged issues of inordinate delay, adhocism, randomness and unjustified discretion on part of the Labour Department in disposing of the applications made by establishments for these exemptions.
“Out of total 346 pending applications, 18 applications of 2016, 26 applications of 2017, 83 applications of 2018, 25 applications of 2019, four applications of 2020 and 74 applications of 2021 had not been processed by the Labour Department on time. These applications were kept pending for no reason even as just two applications, one of 2017 and another of 2021 were processed and sent for approval, in a display of unexplained discretion on part of the Labour Department, which strongly indicated prevalence of corrupt practices,” said the LG Secretariat official.
The official added that “it shows a complete unprofessional attitude and lack of due diligence on the part of the Labour Department and amounted to the Department having adopted a ‘pick and choose policy’ in processing such applications. Such a system may also lead to corrupt practices. Further, inordinately delayed processing of such routine applications also negatively affects the confidence/sentiments of the business community at large”, the LG noted while approving the proposal.
The LG also pointed towards the fact that it took repeated observations and persuasion from the L-G Secretariat for the Labour Department to put in place a Digital Mechanism for the receipt of applications.
This, the L-G said, showed reluctance on part of the Labour Department in adopting simple technological interventions that improved the regulatory framework for ‘Ease of Doing Business’.
The LG has strictly advised that such applications are disposed of within a prescribed timeline so that a conducive investor-friendly business environment and positive confidence could be instilled in the entrepreneurs and business community of Delhi at large, said the official.
The LG has also directed the Labour Department to ensure that such delays do not occur in the future, a mechanism is developed for transparent and effective monitoring, reasons of pendency be ascertained, responsibility be fixed and suitable action is taken against the erring officials.