The state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Friday approved repeal of the Maharashtra Casinos (Control and Taxation) Act, 1976 in the absence of rules for its implementation since it was enacted 47 years ago. Evie though the Act was gazetted on July 22, 1976, the government had not issued notification regarding when the Act should be implemented.
Besides, the trigger for today’s cabinet decision is a proposal submitted by a private company for the opening of a casino in the flotel in south Mumbai. However, the state government in July 2016 had ruled not to apply the Act for starting a casino in the proposal flotel.
The private company proposal remained in cold storage for five long years as it came up for discussion again on July 7, 2021 at the meeting chaired by deputy speaker of the state assembly and after which a proposal was submitted to the home department for the setting up of a study group headed by the Director of the state Tourism Directorate. It was finally submitted on February 9, 2023 to the home department for its approval. However, after due discussion the home department took a stand that the Act should not be implemented in Maharashtra.
The Home Department, which has moved the proposal for the repeal of the Act, said, ‘’For the implementation of the said Act, there is a provision to make rules under Section 18. However, for administrative reasons no further action has been taken under the said Act. Therefore, the Maharashtra Casinos (Control and Taxation) Act, 1976 is more required in the state at present and this Act is being repealed.’’
Interestingly, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation in May 2016 had argued that the implementation of the Act would give a boost to tourism and culture development. In addition, the state would mop up additional revenue especially following the arrival of international tourists.
Further, MTDC had also pitched for the opening of casinos on an experimental basis on the lines of Goa where casinos are functional in the sea.
The finance department has given its opinion citing that the Act has not been implemented in the absence of rules and therefore there does not arise any financial aspect in this regard.
The law and judiciary department gave its opinion in favour of the repeal of the Act as the rules were not in place and there would not be any impact on government’s revenue. Further, the law and department said the Act should be repealed as there was no need in the present situation.
Nod to withdraw Maharashtra Cooperative Societies (Third Amendment) Ordinance 2016
The state cabinet on Friday gave its approval to withdraw the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies (Third Amendment) Ordinance 2016 after strong reservations by the Ajit Pawar led Nationalist Congress Party which had joined the government on July 2 this year. As per the proposed amendment, the active members of the cooperative societies were only entitled for taking part in voting and not the non active members in the election process. However, Ajit Pawar led NCP had objected to the amendment as it would have cost the party controlled cooperative societies heavily as the non active members would have been left out of voting.
With today’s cabinet decision now both active and inactive members of cooperative societies can participate in the election process and cast their votes.