Press Trust of india

Decriminalising minor offences apt strategy to revive biz sentiment: Assocham

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New Delhi:  The Centre’s decision to decriminalise minor offences is an “apt COVID-19 response strategy” towards the revival of business sentiment in the country, industry body Assocham said on Friday.

Earlier this week, the finance ministry had proposed to decriminalise minor offences, including those relating to cheque bounce and repayment of loans, in as many as 19 legislations.

“The initiative of the finance ministry for decriminalisation of minor offences which are not mala-fide and may have occurred inadvertently in complying with lengthy procedures under different laws, is an apt COVID-19 response strategy to revive the business sentiment,” Assocham Secretary General Deepak Sood said in a statement.

He said the chamber would reach out to all its members and different sectoral national councils to respond to the finance ministry’s proposals for decriminalisation of minor corporate offences.

In view of the sense of urgency being shown for reforms measures, especially after outbreak of the pandemic, “we expect the process of stakeholders’ consultation to be completed expeditiously and amendments in laws brought in soon”, he added.

He further said the government must be complimented that the measures announced under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiatives are being implemented with the required earnest and speed. “This has been shown in the recent agri reforms, some of which are brought in through ordinance routes.”

Sood said that the underlying principle of reducing the burden of compliance and restoring trust in businesses, is well taken by India Inc, which would feel encouraged in this difficult time of global pandemic.

The ministry had proposed to decriminalise minor offences in legislations  such as Negotiable Instruments Act, SARFAESI Act, LIC Act, PFRDA Act, RBI Act, NHB Act, Banking Regulation Act and Chit Funds Act.

The other legislations identified for suitable amendments to decriminalise minor offences are Insurance Act, Payment and Settlements Systems Act, NABARD Act, State Financial Corporations Act, Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act, and Factoring Regulation Act. The Ministry will take a final view on the proposal after receiving feedback from the stakeholders who can send their comments by June 23.

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