Maharashtra's new retail policy is win-win for everyone

Policy allows retailers to operate for almost 24 hours, ensures safety of women employees and classifies perishable products under essential category, among others

Looks like the newly released Retail Trade Policy by the state is set to become a win-win for all the stakeholders.

The new policy provides students with part-time job opportunities, wherein minimum per hour wage shall be proportionately determined in accordance with minimum monthly/daily wage rate specified under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. Representation pic/ThinkstockThe new policy provides students with part-time job opportunities, wherein minimum per hour wage shall be proportionately determined in accordance with minimum monthly/daily wage rate specified under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. Representation pic/Thinkstock

From allowing retailers to operate for almost 24 hours to providing part-time and full-time employment opportunities to housewives and students, the new policy has something for everyone. While the new policy is yet to be enforced, sources claimed that its implementation would take place with immediate effect the day state decides to enforce it.

Open door policy
The 16-page policy categorically mentions that retail outlets in the state can now operate between 5 am to 11 pm (for sale) and 11 pm to 5 am (to offer logistics and support services). The policy reads: “Retail enterprises dealing in all goods and commodities shall be allowed to conduct retail operations between 5 am and 11 pm. Enterprises can remain open between 11 pm and 5 am, but only to offer logistics and support purposes. Retail enterprises shall be allowed to stay open every day of the year to cater to the needs of the working class and other customers, provided their employees are given compulsory weekly offs on a preferential-basis.”

Women’s safety
Another aspect the policy has focused on is the safety of women employees. “Women employees shall be permitted to work up to 10 pm, provided precautions are taken for ensuring their safety during working hours, and management makes provisions for dropping them home safely in case they are required to stay back late. However, the decision shall remain with the respective female employee whether she wants to work in shifts or not,” the policy states.

Providing opportunities
One of the assets of the policy is that it offers employment opportunities to housewives and students alike. “Housewives and students can be hired on part-time basis. Retail enterprises can offer part-time employments to such individuals if they are not ready to work full-time. For this, an employee’s consent needs to be taken beforehand. Minimum per hour wage shall be proportionately determined in accordance with minimum monthly/daily wage rate specified under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.”

Perish no more
With new policy covering perishable products under Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), it will hopefully prevent huge financial losses during bandhs called by the retailers. “Food and grocery retailers are entrusted the responsibility of delivering certain services to citizens which, if obstructed, affect the normal day-to-day life.

Sometimes, occurrences like bandhs result in compulsory shutting of retail establishments. This leads to disruption of product access to citizens and massive wastage of produce for the retailers and ultimately to the nation. Only perishable goods/items from food and grocery business will be covered under.” Despite repeated attempts, Industries minister Subhash Desai remained unavailable for comment.

The policy is good. For example, there are people want to go shopping after dinner. This will not only help the shoppers, but also enable small business to make profits. It’s a win-win situation for all. — Viren Shah, president, Federation Of Retail Traders Welfare Association

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