New Delhi, Feb 26: Industry chamber Assocham on Sunday urged the central government to ask states to enact laws to allow small and medium level shops to stay open all seven days.
Noting that large shopping malls remain open through the week, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India said small traders should also be permitted to similarly keep their shops and outlets open.
"Only Rajasthan has so far initiated an exercise for bringing in legislative provisions in sync with the model (Shops and Establishments) Bill proposed by the Centre over a year ago," an Assocham statement said.
"The state has begun work on bringing amendments in the Rajasthan Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1958, to permit small traders to keep their shops and retail outlets open throughout the week," it added.
"While the Labour and Employment Minister and other senior officers have written to the states for adoption of the model bill, the states too need to realise importance of the measure for promoting retail trade which is the largest sector employer in the country," Secretary General D.S. Rawat said.
The industry body also said the interests of the workers employed in the shops and small outlets should be protected and they should not be made to work in double shifts without additional benefits.
"Besides, safety and security of the staff working late hours, particularly women, should be ensured," it said.
According to Assocham, the measure would boost the traditional bazaars, helping them modernise their systems of stocking and sale.
"Moreover, getting them into the formal sector would be a great booster to the economy," it said.