New Delhi: The cabinet on 29 June approved the Model Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016, that will allow malls, shops, restaurants, banks and cinemas to operate 24 hours a day. This move is aimed at enhancing employment generation and increasing retail spending.
It should be noted that this law is advisorial in nature. It contains guidelines and it is up to the state governments to implement it or not.
Mint interviewed various stakeholders in Nehru Place in Delhi—one of the busiest shopping, cinema and restaurant hubs in the capital city—to gauge how the ruling will affect them.
1. Increased consumer spending as establishments stay open for longer hours, leading to increased revenue for establishments, and corresponding increase in the tax base for the government.
2. Likely boost in employment generation because establishments will need to hire employees for the late-night shift.
3. Smaller, informal shops and firms which cater to lower income consumers might crop up around the bigger market areas, thereby inadvertently boosting the informal economy.
4. Private establishments and the local government will have to contend with whose responsibility it is to ensure the safety and security of women through the night.
5. The model law seeks to overturn the existing law against women working night shifts. It also mandates that if women are being employed, facilities like a crèche and cab services should be provided for them. Such a move would have a sweeping effect on the nature of women’s work in the country.
6. Neighbourhoods around upmarket establishments are likely to experience gentrification. As rents in these areas increase owing to their popularity, it is likely that the older, poorer residents of these neighbourhoods will be crowded out to make way for a new set of residents who are richer, younger, and regular consumers of the goods and services offered by these establishments.
7. A move to keep malls and restaurants open through the night will spur wider changes through the city. A city that has a lively nightlife also indicates a certain sense of safety and ownership that citizens feel in being out in urban public spaces.
REACTIONS TO THE 24X7 MODEL LAW
n This will definitely attract more crowd during the weekends as we can organize karaoke, ladies nights, screen football matches and hold similar events till longer. Once that happens, we hope to initially see an increase of about Rs.5 lakh per month in our revenue. —Rahul Gupta, 29, business development manager, Chatter House, Nehru Place.
n It is a welcome move but will only be possible with the involvement with the various stakeholders like the Delhi Police, our transport department, etc. Currently we have people working in two shifts, and we’ll increase that to three. Hiring more women employees isn’t feasible, both financially as well as operationally—we don’t have space for a crèche neither can we afford to hire more transport or security to drop them back home. —Diljeet Singh Bindra, general manager at Benihana, a Japanese cuisine restaurant in Epicuria at Nehra Place.
n This ruling is definitely a positive measure if it gets accepted in Delhi. With places being legally open at night, it will create a safer environment in the city for people. While right now, my late night outings are rare, I feel it will be more conducive to go out at late night hours to a restaurant/lounge with the ruling coming. Currently the options for late night gatherings are only five-star hotels like The Lalit, etc., which are open 24/7. —Piyush Agarwal, who runs an education consultancy in Nehru Place.
n I would not like to work for night, given an option to work for other timings/shifts. I wish to work on my usual work timings as I don’t want to disturb my sleep cycle. —Nyima, employee at Benihana.
If the market is open till late night hours, then I will also expand my working hours accordingly. With the market running, the police will also not have an issue with my shop open till late. —Beerpal Singh, fast food vendor at Nehru Place.
n We have a 12-hour shift, and we aren’t allowed to step out when we are on duty so we get our own food and water from home. So even if there are more vendors at night now, I still won’t be able to buy food from them. —Santosh Thakur, a security guard at Epicuria, Nehru Place.