Since February 2020 the government has been taking keen steps to safeguard the Indian markets and the consumer, this could be seen in the forms of policies and exemptions for the market players and the consumers, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the markets places became vulnerable to loss and various forms of new crimes and frauds. The Government recently tabled the Jan Vishwas bill which is an aftermath of the Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020 which was tabled in February 2020 for creating a safe and dynamic market, this bill is a clear example of how AtmaNirbhar Bharat plays a crucial role in nations development.
What is Jan Vishwas Bill, 2022
The Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022 is a 108-page bill introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal. The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill states, “To amend certain enactments for decriminalizing and rationalizing minor offenses to further enhance trust-based governance for ease of living and doing business.” The bill aims to promote ease of doing business in India by decriminalizing minor offences and amending 183 provisions in 42 Acts administered by 19 ministries. The bill proposes to replace minor offences with monetary penalties and rationalize existing monetary penalties based on the gravity of the offences. The Acts to be amended by the bill include-
- Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940
- Public Debt Act, 1944
- Pharmacy Act, 1948
- Cinematograph Act, 1952
- Copyright Act, 1957
- Patents Act, 1970
- Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
- Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
- Trade Marks Act, 1999l Railways Act, 1989
- Information Technology Act, 2000
- Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002
- Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
- Legal Metrology Act, 2009
- Factoring Regulation Act, 2011
The bill aims to decriminalize a large number of minor offences and replace them with monetary penalties. This step by the government is a clear indication of how important the market regulations are, in recent times Google was imposed with a penalty of 1300 crores and 900 crores for violating competitive market practices, these penalties, and criminalised actions will ensure proper compliance to laws of the land thus creating a blanket of safeguards for the Indian consumer and netizen.
What will the Ease of Business be?
The Government has been critical in pinpointing various parameters and factors to improve the ease of business in the country, this bill comes at the right time when we can see numerous start-ups and entrepreneurs emerging in our country. The parameters are as follows-
- Starting a Business of all
- Dealing with Construction Permits
- Getting Electricity
- Registering Property
- Getting Credit
- Minority Investors
- Paying Taxes
- Trading across Borders
- Enforcing Contracts and Resolving Insolvency
These parameters have been created with a sight on the future of the markets and how external factors like the Russia-Ukraine war can influence the markets. According to Minister Piyush Goyal, the fear of imprisonment for minor offences is a major factor hindering the growth of the business ecosystem and individual confidence in India. The Jan Vishwas Bill, 2022 aims to address this issue by replacing minor offences with monetary penalties. The bill also proposes an increase of 10% in the minimum amount of fine and penalty levied after every three years, once the bill becomes a law.
The bill will create a level playing field for the market players and the consumers with the backing of strong legislation and precedents thus maintaining transparency and accountability in the system. The amended provisions will allow various already existing legislation to come in tune with the current times and emerging technologies. The nation is at a critical juncture to fabricate policies and laws to address the issues and threats of the future and hence such a bill will be the strengthening pillar of the Indian markets and cyber-ecosystem. The Jan Vishwas Bill, 2022 has been referred to a 31-member joint parliamentary committee for scrutiny. The committee includes members from the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and will submit its report to parliament by the second part of the Budget session in 2023, The members from the Lok Sabha include PP Chaudhary, Sanjay Jaiswal, Queen Ojha, Rajendra Agrawal, Gaurav Gogoi, A Raja, Rajendra Agarwal, Poonam Pramod Mahajan, and Sougata Ray.
Author: Mr. Abhishek Singh, Policy and Advocacy, CyberPeace Foundation