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Cinemas, Malls to stay open 24/7: Cabinet permits Night Shift for Women

The successful implementation of the Act depends on states, as the cabinet is only an advisory to state governments

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Shopping mall in India. Image source: worldbase9.com
  • The bill is expected to open the floodgates to various employment opportunities
  • The model law will also empower women by providing them with an opportunity to work on night shifts
  • It has a provision for five paid festival holidays, apart from the national holidays

The cabinet on Wednesday, June 29, cleared that it will allow malls, shops, cinema theatres to operate 24/7, throughout the year.

The move which can add thousands of additional skilled jobs is also seen as an effective way to encourage employment. The bill will also empower women by providing them with an opportunity to work on night shifts, given mandatory cab services and other workplace facilities for them.

In a statement, Labour and Employment minister said, “Women to be permitted during the night shift- if the provision of shelter, restroom, ladies toilet, adequate protection of their dignity and transportation etc. exists.”

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said, the bill intends to end the “protective discrimination” that limited employment opportunities for women.

However, the government clarified that the bill’s success will depend on the states, iterating that it only acts as an advisory to state governments.

Labour Secretary Shankar Aggarwal told The Hindu, “We will send it to the States immediately. The model law will be a ready made material for the State governments as this has taken shape after several rounds of extensive consultation within various ministries and the Cabinet.”

The bill has also proposed to exempt highly-skilled professionals like those in information technology sector or bio-technology from a daily nine-hour shift and has allowed them weekly 48 working hours.

It has also put forward a provision for five paid festival holidays, apart from the national holidays.

The law also brings various sectors (except factories) like printing, banking, insurance, stocks and shares brokerage, and “any other public amusement” which are currently not covered under the Factories Act 1948, under it. Even the small establishments that employ 10 or more workers will be taken care of in this Act, reported The Hindu.

The decision is viewed to bring parity in the legislative process and will even bring e-commerce companies under the labour law ambit.

ALSO READ:

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Yes, this will indeed increase the employment opportunities and night shifts for women would make them independent and courageous

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GES 2017 : Ivanka Trump in Hyderabad charms the women centric Global Entrepreneurship Summit co-hosted by India and United States

Being invited by Prime Minister Modi, Ivanka Trump is in Hyderabad for GES 2017. The event is focused on women entrepreneurs from all across the globe, this is the first time GES is being held in South Asian country

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Ivanka Trump visited India for GES 2017
Ivanka Trump in Hyderabad (VOA)
  • Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi at GES 2017, Ivanka Trump said,”from your childhood selling tea to becoming PM, you’ve proven that transformational change is possible.”

  • Prime Minister Modi emphasising on bilateral relations said,”the GES 2017 event not only connects the Silicon Valley with Hyderabad but also showcases the close ties between the US and India.”

Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser to US President Donald Trump arrived Hyderabad to attend Global Entrepreneurship Summit, GES 2017 co-hosted by India and the United States. The three-day summit, from November 28-30, is being held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) and Hyderabad International Trade Expositions (Hitex).

Ivanka Trump in Hyderabad
Ivanka Trump, daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (VOA)

Ms Ivanka Trump is leading a delegation of senior White House officials and American entrepreneurs. The theme of this year’s summit is ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’ and will include 1,200 young entrepreneurs from different parts of the world, mostly women.

“I encourage everyone here to come together, learn from each other and find new ways to lift barriers in our society so that women are free to innovate, empowered to succeed and able to leave our children a brighter future,” Ivanka Trump told delegates in the event’s opening speech Tuesday.

Ivanka’s appearance with Modi at the opening of GES 2017 was preceded by a bilateral meeting which the Prime Minister Modi described as “wonderful”, before they went out to meet entrepreneurs who showcased their work for presentation. Being women centric event, two of the India’s most powerful women External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman were also present.

GES 2017 : Ivanka Trump in India
Ivanka Trump with Prime Minister Modi (Narendra Modi Twitter)

The summit began with cultural events showcasing India’s rich culture. This year’s summit theme clearly demonstrated the commitment of the India and United states to the principle that when women are economically empowered, their communities and countries thrive. India is one of the country where women are at highest pedestals in social and professional life.

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Ivanka also gave credit to the Modi government for lifting 130 million people out of poverty. “Women still face steep obstacles in starting, owning and growing their businesses. We must ensure women entrepreneurs have access to capital, access to networks and mentors,” Ivanka said to loud cheers from a packed enthusiastic audience.

Ivanka’s visit also affirms that the Trump administration sees India as a major strategic partner in south asia and wants to engage with India more. Growing trade and business between India and United States sends a strong signal to the world.

by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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Food processing will be a main industry in future: Jaitley

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Food processing will be a main industry in future: Jaitley

New Delhi: The entire Indian agriculture value chain is set to change drastically and food processing is going to be one of the main industries of the country in the future, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday.

“The farm to kitchen chain is going to change in India, like elsewhere, with increased agricultural production, better storage facilities, more food processing and changing consumer food preference,” Jaitley said at the inaugural session of the World Food India 2017 here.

 “Food processing is going to be one of the principal industries of India in future, and an entrepreneur in 2017 should think of the industry from the perspective of where it will be in 2040, 2050,” he said.

In terms of market size, the Indian food market was worth $193 billion in 2016 and is expected to cross $540 billion in 2020, officials said here. The sector has been growing at the rate of 12 per cent annually.

“There is a silent revolution ongoing in India. There is an expanding middle class and below that there is a growing aspirational class, which is building up reasonable purchasing power,” the Finance Minister said, noting that this provided an enormous potential market for food products in the country.

About the potential, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that only about 10 per cent of agricultural produce is processed in the country, leading to a lot of wastage.

The industry enjoys many fiscal incentives, including preferential credit under priority sector lending, she said.

“There is 100 per cent FDI (foreign direct investment) allowed into the sector through the automatic route and we have seen inflows increase 40 per cent over the last year,” she said.

“The proposal for a Food Processing Bank is also under active consideration.”

In the presence of delegates from many countries, the event was inaugurated earlier by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who pointed out that India is the biggest producer of milk in the world and the second in rice, wheat, fish and vegetable output.(IANS)

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Decoding the Indian Agrarian Crisis and Fake Farmers Facade

Gaurav Tyagi believes half baked measures like loan waivers just make people lazy parasites.

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An increasing number of farmers in India are committing suicide due to debt pressure. To tackle the issue, the government has come up with farm loan waivers. (VOA)

– By Gaurav Tyagi


New Delhi, September 18, 2017 : 
Indian and International media is full of articles regarding large number of farmers in India committing suicide due to debt pressure.

Instead of going to the root of the problem and analyzing the reasons for this phenomenon, Indian politicians have come up with an absurd idea of farm loan waivers.

Majority of Indian farmers under debt trap own very little land. Farming on such small piece of land is not economically feasible. This sector is highly unorganized. Most of the time, no planning is involved in cultivation, irrigation and harvesting.

Middlemen exploit farmers by buying their produce at a very low price and then selling it at a premium to the end consumers.

The irony is that a large number of Indian politicians claim huge incomes from agriculture while farmers starve.

In the province of Madhya Pradesh 24 farmers committed suicide this year over crop loss and failure to repay loans but 18 of the 20 cabinet ministers of the state have shown ‘agriculture’ as their main source of huge incomes.

How come politicians are earning in Billions through farming while the real farmers are struggling to make both ends meet?

Let’s examine the issue in-depth.

The income earned from agricultural land is exempt from income tax under section 10 (1) of the Income Tax Act 1961. Politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen in India launder their money misusing the above income tax clause.

Normally, one cannot own agricultural land in India unless their forefathers have been agriculturists. Rich and influential people in the country obtain agriculturist certificates by ‘greasing the palms’ of the local land officials.

Farmers are not required to maintain detailed records in India. This provides an excellent loophole to pass off unaccounted and undeclared cash as agricultural income. It is done by showing fake sales cash receipts of agricultural produce, which like other certificates can be purchased in India through bribes.

Approximately 800,000 tax declarants in India state exorbitant amounts as agricultural incomes while filing their annual income tax returns.

This income, a whopping INR. 874 Lakh Crores was eight times more than the cumulative GDP of India for the financial years 2011 and 2012.

The average annual income declared by these assesses comes out to be anywhere between Rs. 30-80 Crores, on which they don’t pay any taxes.

It’s obvious that the aforesaid is not agricultural earning instead it’s declared as agricultural income by these assesses just to avoid paying taxes.

According to National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Delhi, with hardly any farming land has more farmers indulging in agriculture than Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal provinces.

Delhi’s so called ‘farmers’ received Rs. 22,077 Crores in agricultural loans during 2009. In reality, these ‘self proclaimed farmers’ are the owners of big farm houses on the outskirts of the capital.

The authorities are well aware of this malpractice. The Tax Administration Reform Committee in its report in November 2014 said, “Agricultural income of non-agriculturists is being increasingly used as a conduit to avoid tax and for laundering funds, resulting in leakage to the tune of Crores in revenue annually”

The Finance Minister of India, Arun Jaitley on 26th April said that the government of India does not plan to tax the farm income.

farmers
Finance Minister of India, Arun Jaitley, wikimedia

It reveals that Indian politicians cutting across party lines indulge in this malpractice, 27% of the winning Lok Sabha M.P’s in 2014 elections have declared wealth of over Rs. 1 Crore, majority of which has been mentioned as agricultural income.

Indian opposition politicians blackmail the political party in power by indulging in spurious farmer agitations.

If there is a bumper crop then the opposition parties start shouting that prices have crashed due to over-supply in the market. When farming cultivation fails due to the vagaries of nature, then they start throwing statistics about farmers suicide.

A group of ‘self proclaimed’ farmers from Tamil Nadu province camped at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, the Indian capital city during March this year and indulged in cheap theatrics to draw attention to their protests.

The leader of this group, P. Ayyakannu is demanding that all farmers should be given loan waivers from banks and quoted highly inflated figures of farmers suicides in Tamil Nadu.

The Tamil Nadu government on 28th April, 2017 conveyed to the Supreme Court of India that no famers committed suicide in the state and clarified that a few, who took this extreme measure did it due to personal reasons.

Many farmers died due to old age and other medical issues. Ayyakannu clubbed all of them together to gather national as well as international attention.

ALSO READ Farmers welfare: What Indian agricultural sector needs to learn from Denmark?

Ayyakannu called off this whole play in Delhi on 23rd April after 40 days, when the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu came to meet these protestors.
He said that their group is giving a one month’s time-frame to the government in order to fulfill their demands otherwise, they would resume their protests in the national capital from May 25 on a bigger scale.

This impostor farmer leader Ayyakannu again came back to Delhi again on 16th July with his gang of ruffians to continue their drama.

Ayakannu as per media reports is not even a farmer, but a lawyer, who makes huge amounts of money through out of court settlements and personally owns hundreds of acres of land.

He and his bunch of hooligans all look quite healthy and well-fed. They don’t appear like destitute farmers as claimed by them.

Fake farmers like the aforementioned Ayyakannu are just the front faces of this façade in the name of farmers.

The remote controls of such characters remain in the hands of politicians, who use them for their narrow, selfish, corrupt agendas depending on the political situation at the state and national level.

The governments of Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan & U.P. provinces have waived off agricultural loans worth Billions. This has set up a very bad precedent for the rest of the country.

ALSO READ Exclusive: Angry Farmers and Distressed Leaders

There are no ‘free lunches’ in this world. These half baked measures like loan waivers just make people lazy parasites.

The following steps would go a long way in helping the real distressed farmers;

  • Scientific soil and climate testing should be done across all farming regions in India. Farmers can then be educated about which crops to grow profitably, in how many cycles; depending on the soil conditions and climate of the region.
  • Implement agricultural reforms like farming co-operatives, where farmers having small agricultural land holdings can be encouraged to come together and pool their land plus resources together.
  • Crop storage infrastructure should be built and maintained in every village so, that farmer can store their surplus produce rather than sell it desperately at a low price.
  • Crop insurance must be compulsorily introduced all over the country wherein, farmers by paying a nominal amount need not bother about their crops getting destroyed through excessive rain or drought.
  • Organic farming needs to be encouraged instead of over-reliance on chemical fertilizers. The food waste produced by an entire village can be easily turned into biodegradable compost, through innovative schemes like Vermicomposting.
  • Vermicast can replace fertilizers in the agriculture fields. This would save money for the farmer and provide high quality chemical free crops.
  • The APMC’s (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees) have created a coterie of middlemen, who along with the complicity of these committees, form a virtual barrier between the farmer and the consumer, paying the former a pittance for his produce and charging the latter exorbitant amounts for fruits and vegetables.
    Vegetables are purchased at Rs. 2 or 3 a kg from farmers and then sold at 30 to 40 rupees per kg to urban consumers.
    This setup has been going on for decades in every town and city of India. Millions of urban Indians pay artificially higher prices and majority of farmers are underpaid due to this flawed system.
    The profits are made by middlemen, who do not pay taxes on these huge earnings. It is a common practice for them to store money in cash and not in banks.

These APMC’s must therefore be abolished immediately. Farmers should get direct access to the end consumer through the elimination of middlemen. This would ensure a better monetary return for farmers.

  • Private moneylenders in and around the villages charge a very high rate of interest from farmers. This unscrupulous sector should be bought under government regulation by bringing down the rate of interest to a rational level.
  • Government schools in villages are in shambles. They need to be upgraded so, that quality education at an affordable price is available to every child in the village.
    This would uplift farmers children through educational empowerment. It will enable them to make a transition to non-agricultural professions in future and enhance their family earnings considerably.

The aforementioned steps would cost the government far less than what it is losing in the absurd loan waiver schemes, which anyways don’t help the poor marginal farmer at all.
As regard dealing with the fake farmers of India.

The solution entails; no farm loan waivers and bringing the agricultural income above a certain threshold under the tax bracket.

The aforesaid measures would prevent the fake farmers façade spreading rapidly all over the country, while resolving the agrarian crisis of India by assisting needy farmers of the country.

The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China. 


 

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