Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday informed the Lok Sabha that the government has set up a working group to decriminalise laws to further promote ease of doing business.
Replying to a debate on the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023, he said the group will look at areas, where more decriminalisation of provisions is required.
He said that the group comprised representatives from industry associations, business chambers, legal professionals, legal experts and officials of seven ministries.
Besides, it would also have representatives of the National Housing Bank (NHB), National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development and Central Pollution Control Board.
The Bill was later passed in the Lok Sabha through a voice vote as Opposition members protested and raised slogans on the Manipur issue.
The Bill seeks to amend 183 provisions across 42 Acts administered by 19 ministries to reduce the compliance burden on individuals and businesses.
Goyal said this process would continue and it would help India to promote economic growth.
It was first introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 22, 2022. Subsequently, it was referred to the Joint Committee of Parliament.
The Joint Committee on the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022, held detailed discussions with all the 19 ministries/departments, along with the Legislative Department and Department of Legal Affairs.
The committee adopted its report on March 13.
It recommended a few more amendments to the Bill. It also made seven general recommendations, out of which, 6 have been accepted.
Under the bill, both imprisonment and/or fine are proposed to be removed in some provisions; imprisonment is proposed to be removed and fine retained in a few provisions; and imprisonment is proposed to be removed and fine enhanced in certain provisions.
For effective implementation, the bill proposes measures such as pragmatic revision of fines and penalties commensurate to the offence committed; establishment of adjudicating officers; establishment of Appellate Authorities; and Periodic increase in the quantum of fines and penalties.
Goyal also said that the government has so far repealed more than 1,500 obsolete laws.
"The government has decriminalised 3,600 laws and reduced the burden of 40,000 compliances under different laws in the last nine years to promote ease of doing business and ease of living," he said.
Some of the acts that will be amended through the bill include The Press and Registration of Books Act, The Boilers Act, The Indian Forest Act, The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, The Warehousing Corporations Act, The Food Corporations Act, The Patents Act, The Prevention of Money-laundering Act and The Food Safety and Standards Act.
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