Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Sunday “strongly demanded” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and heads of other states to compensate firecracker traders for the losses they are accruing due to a ban imposed by them on the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali. Apart from Delhi, states/union territories including West Bengal, Sikkim, Odisha, Rajasthan, Haryana, Chandigarh have clamped a ban on firecrackers this festive season. While Karnataka had also issued a ban earlier but on Saturday it released guidelines for allowing ‘green’ crackers only. Madhya Pradesh had banned firecrackers having a depiction of Hindu deities and others that are imported.
CAIT called the Delhi ban, which is impacting “the livelihood of lakhs of small and tiny traders of Delhi and poor people who earn extra income by selling firecrackers”, a blatant violation of an order of the Supreme Court of India. The body’s Secretary-General Praveen Khandelwal cited the Supreme Court’s March 2019 order that said “it wasn’t in favour of a complete ban on crackers and instead suggested regulating the polluting aspect of the industry.”
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Justice S A Bobde with Justice S Abdul Nazeer had told Additional Solicitor General A S Nadkarni, who appeared for the Centre, “I know you are gunning for firecrackers, but the larger pollutants are perhaps automobiles,” The Indian Express had reported. Based on the “precautionary principle” of environmental law, Justice A K Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan had allowed the manufacturing and sale of green crackers and those with reduced emissions.
Khandelwal urged central and state governments to suspend all Environment Committees for failing to conclude the root cause of pollution and the permanent remedial measures to ensure a safe environment along with the smooth conduct of businesses. India’s firecracker industry provides employment to around 10 lakh people and over 80 per cent of firecrackers are made in Sivakasi in Tamilnadu as it houses around 1,100 firecracker manufacturing units, according to BC Bhartia, National President, CAIT. “The total manufacturing of firecrackers in India amounts to about Rs 5,000 crores. In absence of any clear policy on firecrackers, the Industry is dying its own death,” he said.