Christmas has come early for the citizens of Maharashtra as the state government has amended the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments Act, allowing enterprises to stay open 24×7, starting December 20, 2017.
An unprecedented and much lauded move, it means that now shops and other establishments can operate all day long, 365 days a year, and have the freedom choose their own business hours.
This includes malls, cinema halls, salons, med shops, banks, and cafes and restaurants that don’t serve alcohol. Sadly, nightclubs, bars, and other establishments that serve alcohol will continue to have time curbs.
Okay, that is a bummer, but millennials around Maharashtra, especially in the bigger cities like Mumbai and Pune, still have much to celebrate. So what are the pros and cons of the amendment?
Reason to Cheer
From a consumer’s perspective, the biggest benefit is the much craved extension to the nightlife. Especially for Mumbai, a city that famously never sleeps, it offers a plethora of new options to just go out at night and grab a coffee or watch a movie.
From a business perspective, the move will help generate more income, and do away with the whole ‘hafta’ nonsense that business owners would allegedly have to pay under the table to ensure their business isn’t interrupted at night.
The government has also ensured strict regulations are in place when it comes to employers’ rights, which include not working for more than 9 hours at a time, being paid for overtime, paid leaves, minimum wages, and pick-up and drop services for women who’re asked to come in to or leave work late.
Chuffed with the move, Swati Sood, a 24-year-old research analyst, says, “This will boost tourism and generate more employment opportunities. Furthermore, now that stores will be open all night, it’ll make the streets that much safer for women. It’s a great initiative by the government, and I hope it’s implemented just as well!”
It’s hard to nitpick when it’s an initiative that we’ve demanded for decades, but the bit that stands out, of course, is that pubs and bars will continue to operate on the time limit.
Secondly, there will be more traffic, and a surge in noise pollution related issues, and that’s inevitable.
Clifford Fernandes, a 27-year-old designer, points out, “What we mustn’t forget is that this will lead to chaos in residential areas. Sure, the restaurants and businesses in these areas will require additional clearances, but it will still be a menace for residents young and old alike, especially since there is never a dearth of unruly patrons.”
The government has cited women’s safety as one of the biggest reasons behind the move, and whether we like it or not, that’s just something we’ll have to live with.
But if you ask us, the pros certainly outweigh the cons. It’s a move that will be welcome by everyone in the city with open arms.
What are your views on the matter? Let us know by commenting below.
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