Mumbai shuts transport, offices after heavy rains flood city

The city is already operating at partial capacity due to coronavirus-related restrictions

MUMBAI • Authorities in Mumbai have asked offices to close wherever possible and suspended rail services after India’s financial hub saw its wettest September day in three years.

Mumbai received about 29cm of rains over the past 24 hours through yesterday morning, government data show. The weather office predicts moderate to heavy showers continued through the day.

“Mumbaikars are requested not to venture out of their homes,” the city’s municipality said in a statement. Municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal asked all offices and establishments in the city, barring essential services, to be shut.

The city is already operating at partial capacity due to coronavirus-related restrictions. Train services, currently operational only for some essential workers like healthcare, food distribution or banking, were halted in certain parts after tracks got flooded.

Financial services count as essential in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, India’s Parliament approved a set of long-overdue labour legislations that aim to attract investment and make it easier for companies to do business in the South Asian nation.

The new bills include the industrial relations code that will allow companies with as many as 300 workers to fire them without seek- ing prior government approval, a three-fold jump from the current threshold.

The other bills that have been approved are related to social security and occupational safety. The Upper House of Parliament passed the bills yesterday after they were cleared by the lower house a day earlier. As routine procedure, the bills now require the president’s assent to become laws.

The bills strike a balance between worker welfare and the ease-of- doing business Minister for Labour and Employment Santosh Gangwar, said during the debate on Tuesday.

“These labour reforms are aligned more towards the employer and seek to provide more flexibility when dealing with labour issues especially redundancy,” said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at Care Ratings. “These laws will be positive for potential investors as rigid labour laws have been a concern.”

India’s maze of labour regulations, both at federal and state level, are considered to be rigid and complex, forcing companies to either remain small, employ fewer workers or use capital-intensive methods of production. — Bloomberg