Skip to main content

Gujarat govt 'considers' temples, charitable institutions as shops and establishment

By Pankti Jog*
The Gujarat state assembly recently passed a new law which would "govern" the working condition of shops and establishments. One of the most talked about provisions of the Act is, it allow shops and establishments across Gujarat to function 24 hours.
Already effective for more than six weeks, while the claim is, it would generate more employment opportunities for youth, what has surprised man an observer is, the Act considers all trusts and societies also as shops.
Introduced by the Gujarat government in the state assembly in February 2019, cleared by President of India, and begun being implemented on May 1, 2019, it is called Gujarat Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Service) Act 2019. It focuses on registration of all organizations, consultants (both individual, as well as firms), trusts, societies, companies, shops and all other working spaces with the authorities concerned.
The Act defines an establishment in 2 (c) (ii) not just an industrial and trade unit, but also, to quote, "a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, and a charitable or other trust, whether registered or not, which carries on, whether for purposes of gain or not, any business, trade or profession or work in connection with or incidental or ancillary thereto."
Not just NGOs, voluntary organisations, trust-run educational institutions, hospitals and other welfare organisations are registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, but even religious institutions, social organizations run by them, as also major temples of Gujarat are registered under this 19th century Act.
The Act says, those who have more than 10 employees would have to inform the authorities to get themselves registered, while others would have to complete registration procedure along with fees.
The Act comprehensively looks at working hours, payment for extra hours' work, leave, and facilities at work spaces like toilets, crèches etc. It identifies the responsibility of the ‘Owner’, which in the case of temples, charitable trusts and societies would be their respective trustees.
The Act says that the owner cannot make an employee work for more than nine hours a day, and there should be a break after five hours. Each hour after nine hours would be considered “overtime”, and the employee would need to be paid 1.5 times of the regular payment. There should be proper facility of water, light, aid circulation, fire safety, and sanitation at workspaces, the Act adds.
The Act talks about the inspection of “shops and establishments” by shop inspectors and checking of records, and empowers officials concerned to interview/inquire with an employee about its proper implementation. Interestingly, local self-governance bodies (panchayats, municipalities and municipal corporations) would be looking after the implementation and monitoring of the law.
“A shop inspector appointed by local self-governing bodies has immense power under theCriminal Procedure Code (CrPC), to inspect and inquiry with an employee, seize records etc. Also interrupting this process or non-cooperation from employer’s side will also attract CrPC sections for violations like preventing government officer from conducting duty under the law”, says Harinesh Pandya, executive secretary, Janpath, a state-level network of voluntary organization of Gujarat.
“There are severe punishment provisions for violations, which range from Rs10,000 to Rs 50,000 fine, and six months' imprisonment, for which trustees of NGOs, temples, or board members of a society too would be held held liable”, continues Pandya.
"These provisions of penalty will deal a body blow on charitable trusts, including temples. It seems that the government wants to govern all kinds of working spaces with a single stick, which is unrealistic. The objective and purpose of a charitable trust is totally different than industry or trade bodies, their working spaces or places have to be different”, he added.
---
*With Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel, Ahmedabad

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.

Agricultural reform? Small farmers will be more vulnerable, corporates to 'fix' price

By Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
Agriculture employs 42% of the total work force whereas it contributes only 16% to the country’s GDP. The average annual growth rate in agriculture has remained static to 2.9% since the last six years. This means that the post-green revolution conventional agriculture has reached its peak. Responsiveness of soil fertility to fertiliser application, an indicator of stagnancy in agriculture, shows declining trend since 1970. The worst sufferer has been the small and marginal farmers who constitute 86% of total farmers.