The Centre will help states in simplification, rationalisation or decriminalisation of provisions with a view to promoting ease of doing business and living in the country, a top government official said on Thursday.
Secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Rajesh Kumar Singh said that Parliament passed a bill which seeks to promote ease of business by decriminalising minor offences through amendments in 183 provisions of 42 Acts.
"We will do this in the future as well...We intend to follow with an inter-ministerial working group which will look at other provisions where further simplification, rationalisation or decriminalisation is possible and we are intending to do the same exercise at the state level by providing guidance to the states as well," he told reporters here.
He said that there will be many more rounds of this exercise with the overall objective of promoting ease of doing business and ease of living.
The Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023 was passed by Rajya Sabha by a voice vote on August 2. Lok Sabha cleared the legislation on July 27.
The bill converts several fines to penalties, meaning that court prosecution is not necessary to administer punishments.
It also removes imprisonment as a punishment for many offences. All offences under the Post Office Act of 1898 are being removed.
A working group has been formed to take the initiative forward. The group comprises representatives from industry associations, business chambers, legal professionals, legal experts and officials of seven ministries.
Besides, it has representatives of the National Housing Bank (NHB), the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and the Central Pollution Control Board.
The bill seeks to amend 183 provisions of 42 Acts administered by 19 ministries to reduce the compliance burden on individuals and businesses.
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.
Some of the Acts that will be amended through the bill are 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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