The proposal to exempt 314 such applications, some of them pending since 2016, was approved by Delhi Lt. Governor V.K. Saxena. 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 favourable business environment along with also providing fillip to the much desired ‘night life’ in the city.
The exemptions under Sections 14, 15 & 16 of the said Act enables commercial establishments to operate on a 24X7 basis, subject to certain conditions that entails welfare of labour and security, etc.
Approving the proposal, the Lt. 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,” IANS quoted the L-G Secretariat official as saying.
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, inordinate delayed processing of such routine applications also negatively affects the confidence/sentiments of the business community at large”, the L-G noted while approving the proposal.
The L-G 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 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 L-G 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 L-G has also directed the Labour Department to ensure that such delays do not occur in future, a mechanism be developed for transparent and effective monitoring, reasons of pendency be ascertained, responsibility be fixed and suitable action be taken against the erring officials.
(With inputs from agencies)