Malls, movie theatres, shops and restaurants can stay open all-night with the Maharashtra cabinet clearing the proposal that comes into effect from January 27. The decision could help generate more revenue and jobs, in addition to the existing five lakh people working in the service sector, Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray said.
London's "night economy" was worth 5 billion pounds and Mumbai, India's financial and entertainment capital, was already "24x7 functional city", he said, speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting.
"There are people who work in night shifts. There are tourists, too, in transit. Where do they go if they are hungry after 10 pm? People can eat food, shop and watch movies even during the night," he said.
Mr Thackeray, who is son of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, said keeping shops, malls and eateries open in the night was not mandatory.
"Only those who feel they can do good business can keep their establishments open throughout the night," he said.
In the first phase, shops, eateries and theatres in malls and mill compounds situated in non-residential areas will be allowed to remain open.
"In the Bandra-Kurla Complex and Nariman Point near NCPA, a lane will be opened for food trucks. Food inspectors will keep a watch on them. If rules on solid waste management, decibel limits and law and order are violated, there is provision of lifetime ban," the 29-year-old Shiv Sena leader said.
He said the move will also mean less stress for the police force as they will not have to keep a check if shops and establishments were shut down1:30 am.
He also said that while taking the decision, excise rules have not been touched and pubs and bars will close as usual at 1:30 am.
Asked about criticism from the BJP over this move, the minister said the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government was working to fulfil people's aspirations.
"The BJP is against the youth, seeing the way they are handling students," he said, referring to the recent violence in Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Jamia Millia Islamia.