1, March, 2024
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Union Budget 2024 – Spotlight on Business Environment Enhancement

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The Union Budget 2024 is anticipated to place a strong emphasis on bolstering the ease of doing business in India, with a particular focus on decriminalizing specific offenses and reforming labor laws. Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has engaged in discussions with the Commerce Ministry and NITI Aayog to explore avenues for enhancing the country’s business environment, according to a source familiar with the matter.

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Jan Vishwas Bill: Decriminalizing Minor Offenses The Jan Vishwas bill aims to decriminalize 183 minor offenses under 42 Union Acts, impacting entrepreneurs. While this bill addresses only a fraction of the 26,134 provisions, its significance lies in the potential to streamline legal processes. Notably, five Acts contribute to 52% of the proposed decriminalizations, including the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, National Housing Bank Act, 1987, and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

India has been actively restructuring its labor laws since 2019, consolidating 29 Union Acts into four codes. The objective is to reduce criminal provisions in labor laws by approximately 80%. The four codes include The Code on Wages, 2019; The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020; The Code on Social Security, 2020; and The Industrial Relations Code, 2020.

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India has showcased progress in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey, ascending from 142nd place in 2015 to 63rd in 2020. However, the survey was discontinued following an investigation revealing potential influence from China in the 2018 study to boost its ranking. Despite the discontinuation, India’s commitment to improving the business environment remains a focal point in the upcoming budget discussions.

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