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Lok Sabha passes Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023

  • Published
    29th Jul, 2023
Context

Recently, Lok Sabha passed the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023 introduced by Minister of Union and Commerce which aims at giving further boost to Ease of Living and Ease of Doing Business.

Background
  • Bill was first introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2022. Later, it was referred to the Joint Committee of the Parliament.
  • Subsequently, the committee finally adopted its Report.
  • All the ministries and departments concerned accepted the six recommendations out of seven made by the committee and it was tabled and passed on 27th July, 2023.

Key-Features of the Bill

  • Decriminalization: The Bill seeks to give a boost to the business ecosystem in the country by decriminalizing many minor offencesand replacing them with monetary penalties under 42 Central Acts overseen by 19 Ministries.
    • These are administered by different Union ministries, including finance, agriculture, commerce, environment, road transport and highways, food production and distribution, and electronics and IT.
  • Decriminalization is proposed to be achieved in the following manner: -
    • Both Imprisonment and/or Fine are proposed to be removed in some provisions.
    • Imprisonment is proposed to be removed and fine retained in few provisions.
    • Imprisonment is proposed to be removed and Fine enhanced in few provisions.
    • Imprisonment and Fine are proposed to be converted to Penalty in some provisions.
    • Compounding of offences is proposed to be introduced in few provisions.
  • Removal of penalties: The Bill removes all offences and penalties under the Indian Post Office Act, 1898.
  • Periodic revision of fine: A distinctive feature of the proposed law is an increase of 10% of the minimum amount of fine and penalty levied after the expiry of every three years.
  • Changes in grievance redressal mechanisms: There have been changes in grievance redressal mechanisms and the appointment of one or more Adjudicating Officers for accessing penalties.

What is the need for such a law?

  • Essential for economic growth: Micro, small, and medium-scale businesses significantly contribute to India's GDP and play a crucial role in the economy. Effective and efficient business regulations are essential to facilitate their transition to the formal sector, create jobs, and boost income.
  • Burden of excessive compliance: Currently, there are 1,536 laws which translate into around 70,000 compliances that govern doing business in India. The burden of excessive compliances is particularly challenging for MSMEs.
  • Challenging imprisonment clause: Out of the 69,233 unique compliances, 26,134 have imprisonment clauses as penalties for non-compliance, which adds to the challenges faced by businesses.
  • Constant barriers: Cumulative legislation, rules, and regulations have created barriers to the flow of ideas, organization, entrepreneurship, and economic growth.
  • Additional cost: An average manufacturing enterprise with over 150 employees deals with 500-900 compliances annually, incurring substantial costs of Rs 12-18 lakh per year.

The Jan Vishwas Bill envisages decluttering the system and shedding the baggage of archaic and obsolete laws.

Advantages of such laws

  • Promote ease of living: The Bill aims to reduce compliance burden and promote ease of living and doing business in the country.
  • Freedom to work: People, companies, and government agencies can work without being concerned of being imprisoned for small-scale, procedural or technical errors.
    • Ensuring adherence to law by businesses and citizens, without losing the rigor of the law.
  • Reducing burden on judiciary: Decrease the number of pending cases and contribute to a more effective and efficient administration of justice.

As per the National Judicial Data Grid, as of July 2023, out of a total of 4.4 crore pending cases, 3.3 crore cases are criminal proceedings.

  • Reduced cost: It will reduce time and costs for both government and businesses.
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