Project on Reforms to the Kerala Shops & Commercial Establishments Act, 1960

Back in 2016, shops could not remain open late at night in the villages and cities of Kerala. Law did not permit women to work night shifts. Registering a commercial establishment was a herculean task and an expensive one too.
This was before, Centre for Public Policy Research took up the project to amend the Kerala Shops & Establishments Act that regulates labour and working conditions in Kerala. Today the amended act brings about a leap in economic freedom and shatters gender barriers in employment. This is the story of a small team who persisted to bring about this flutter of freedom in a Communist led state.

Click here to Read the Draft
What was the 1960 Act all about?
  • The Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1960 ‘regulated’ work and employment in shops and commercial establishments in the state of Kerala, India.
  • The decades old Act DID NOT allow women to work in night shifts.
  • Entrepreneurs could not take decisions on their own on weekly holidays or night shifts for workers.
  • Shops were not allowed to open 24×7
  • Licensing procedures were through multiple windows and very cumbersome.
  • Regulatory oversight was very high for any commercial establishment having 10 or more employees.
  • This Act essentially killed entrepreneurial innovation and stifled employment generation.
Key Amendments to the 1960 Act, made by the Government based on CPPR’s recommendations
  • Extended working hours including 24×7 operations on an optional basis
  • Extended working hours for women employees
  • Granting weekly holidays is mandatory but entrepreneurs could decide on closing shops for a day in a week.
  • Women can be employed from 9 pm to 6 am apart from the usual day hours.
  • Allowing maintenance of business records in electronic format.
What is the Impact Created?
  • The Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1960 ‘regulated’ work and employment in shops and commercial establishments in the state of Kerala, India.
  • Direct impact on wealth creation opportunities for private entrepreneurs.
  • Better working conditions and opportunities for employees.
  • Increased participation of women in the job market.
  • Revenue generation for the government and boost to the economy of Kerala.
  • Employment generation in the private sector as more players enter. (Service sector accounts for 70% of Kerala’s economy)
  • Creation of indirect employment opportunities in restaurants, hospitality, transportation etc.
  • Increase in Ease of Doing Business climate in Kerala
Videos related to the Project
About CPPR
The Centre for Public Policy Research(CPPR) is an independent public policy think-tank dedicated to in-depth research and scientific analysis to deliver actionable ideas for the transformation of society.
Based out of Kochi (Kerala, India), our engagement in public policy that began in 2004 has initiated open dialogue, policy changes and institutional transformation in the areas of Urban Reform, Livelihood, Education, Health, Governance, Law, and International Relations & Security.

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