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FICCI recommends Haryana government to legalise the grey office market

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry with international property consultant JLL has submitted a research paper to the Haryana government to highlight the ‘Grey office market or work from home’ in the state and recommended to regulate it as a formal and authorised sector.

Keeping in line with the Government of India’s Skill India and Start-up mission, the study has suggested significant measures backed by the survey and analysis of the employee’s perception in the recent times to incorporate their home, as the formal and affordable workplace.

The research paper highlighted the informal office/ affordable workspaces quantum in Haryana and intent to brainstorm for any measures that could change the dynamics of the office industry and contribute to the formal economy of Haryana.

Vineet Nanda, Chairman – Regional Urban Infra Committee, FICCI presented the white paper titled ‘Home: The New Workplace’ to K Makrand Pandurang, Director General and Special Secretary, Town & Country Planning, Haryana and Vishal Bansal, Principal Accountant General IA&AS (Audit), Haryana.

Vineet Nanda along with GB Singh, Regional Head, FICCI briefed them on the changing dynamics of workspaces post-pandemic and recommended reframing and legalising the grey office market in a systematic manner.

The move will contribute to the formal economy of the state in the form of an increase in GST and property tax collection as well as improving real estate bylaws. Grey office market are informal spaces operating from home-based setups primarily used by small-scale start-ups, unorganised workers, and the unemployed/remote workforce.

As per Ministry of Labour and Employment data, approximately 27 crore people have registered themselves as part of the unorganised workforce.

“FICCI / JLL white paper presented is worth introspection and step in the right direction. Haryana government supports start-up ecosystem in the state and in this regard, we would like to probe further with FICCI/JLL to understand the need gap. We encourage the youth of Haryana and of the entire nation to join the formal sector of business and commerce and set up their start-up business units in the state of Haryana,” said Pandurang.

The move is predicted to benefit over 700 start-ups and six lakh unemployed professionals in Haryana. The benefits of the policy suggestion include compatible land uses by discouraging intensive commercial developments, legalising unorganised commercial activities, less or no travel hence reduced carbon footprints and various benefits to the government in form of revenue collection by GST, property taxes adding another income source to contribute in the economy of the state.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have witnessed a significant number of start-ups operating from informal spaces, primarily from home, and unemployed people getting involved in home-based part-time businesses. ‘Work at home’ is the new normal. I feel the move is cost-effective, time-saving, and full of opportunities, especially for entrepreneurs and unemployed people. The policy will propel the formal economy of Haryana and help improve the real estate bylaws,” said Vineet Nanda.

Advent of hybrid workspaces and changing work dynamics in India has accentuated the need for more interactive space than pure commercial and residential use. The creation of affordable, efficient workspaces and interactive land uses will improve the environment for the unorganized commercial sector, home-based workers and new-age start-ups.

It will not only benefit the urban infrastructure sector at large but will also move towards the creation of more entrepreneurs, jobs and better work-life quality.

“Around fifteen lakh of Haryana’s informal workforce is working from unregulated home-based establishments. The absence of inclusive policies that cater to both the workers, enterprises and industry at large has only accentuated the problem. There is a dire need for all stakeholders to work towards inclusive regulatory and policy changes and think beyond WFH,” said Akash Bansal, Senior Director & India Head – Consulting.

Based on surveys and analysis of the employees’ perceptions in recent times, demand for commercial spaces is increasing in major cities.

There is a significant demand from the informal commercial segment, currently functioning in an unregularized way, which can also be termed as “Grey Office Market”

Over 25% (approximately 52 lakh) of Haryana’s informal workforce is working from unregulated home-based establishments, 24% in construction, 30% in agriculture and 21% include of other sectors.

Out of 3,500 start-ups, approximately 2,800 start-ups are registered and functioning under the formal sector on the other hand 700 start-ups are operating from informal spaces – primarily home-based establishments, in Haryana that may involve 9,000 -10, 000 approx workforce

6 lakhs unemployed professionals are willing to work and are actively searching for jobs in Haryana.

A significant number are involved in part-time businesses run from home-based establishments. The absence of inclusive policies that cater to both the workers and enterprises alike has only accentuated the problem.

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