As the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 2017 came into force, it was found that establishments and shops with less than ten workers were evading the rules. Such complaints were received by the government and there was a demand to take action against them. To alleviate this issue, the Cabinet decided to amend the Act.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena’s old ally BJP alleged that the move was being taken keeping in mind the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections. The party said that Sena is looking to consolidate its Marathi Manoos pitch by taking this decision.
Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government approved a proposal wherein shops prominently display a signboard in Marathi. The state cabinet passed the proposal that will be binding on all shops and establishments across the state. In 2017, the Maharashtra government had made a rule that all shops in the state should have a signboard written in Marathi. However, its implementation did not go as planned. In many places, small nameplates were put on shops in Marathi and in many places, shopkeepers circumvent this rule.
In many places, the name used to be mentioned in capital letters in English. In Marathi, however, names used to be in lower case. With today’s decision, the name in Marathi will have to be in capital letters like any other language. An amendment was approved that letters in the Marathi-Devanagari script could not be kept shorter than letters in other (English or other) scripts. As a result of this decision, shopkeepers across the state will now have to display their shop signs in Marathi.
State industries minister Subhash Desai said, “The Maharashtra government has taken a decision that all shops should have name boards in Marathi. This should be in a font that is prominently visible. The decision to have Marathi name boards on shops was taken in 2017. But its implementation was not happening on the ground. Hence, the Cabinet today took the decision to implement it effectively.” “Earlier, this rule was applied to shops having more than 10 Maharashtrian employees. That rule has been amended and now all shops will have a bird in Marathi,” he added.
AIMIM Maharashtra unit president and MP Imtiaz Jaleel slammed the state government’s decision to make it mandatory for shops with fewer than 10 employees to use Marathi signboards and wondered if the move will create more jobs for Marathi youths.
Jaleel stated, “When elections come closer than you remember Marathi boards, a border dispute with Karnataka, Marathi pride. People are not fools and they understand this gimmick. Will Marathi boards give jobs to Marathi youth, is a million-dollar question? The decision to make it mandatory for shops with fewer than 10 employees to use Marathi signboards was taken by the state cabinet at its meeting in Mumbai.”