Government of Goa has initiated the Self Certification Scheme (“Scheme”) vide its notification dated May 21, 2020 for the factories covered under the Factories Act, 1948 (“Act”) and the Rules made thereunder. This Scheme was brought in with the following objective:
a. To reduce the number of visits of the inspector for enforcement and inspection of compliance.
b. To remove the requirement of maintenance of various registers and submission of returns.
The above objective was formulated for the purpose of simplifying business regulations and to bring in transparency and accountability along with ensuring the effective compliance of the law in parallel to maintaining the safety, health and welfare of the employees/workers.
Eligibility: All the factories as covered under the ambit of the definition of “factories” under section 2 (m)(i) and (ii) of the Act and covered under Section 85 of the Act. However, factories categorized as “major accident hazards installations” under clause (ja) of rule 2 of the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989 shall not be covered under this scheme.
The factories can at any time in the calendar month voluntarily choose to join the Scheme by submitting a form in this regard along with payment of applicable fees. The application must be accepted or rejected within 30 days. This Scheme shall be valid for a period of 5 years.
Once enrolled in the Scheme, the factories shall be permitted to file their returns online through Goa Online e-District portal in the manner as required under the respective rules. The registration under the Scheme provides the factories with the relaxation of physical maintenance of 11 registers which can be maintained is soft copies. Further, the Scheme to relax the burden of unprompted inspection, has mandated inspection of only 25% of the factories in a year who shall randomly be picked through online Central Inspection System. Such inspection shall be only for the purpose of inspecting compliance with the Act and rules therein. To increase transparency, the Scheme mandates publication of the inspection report
online within 48 hours from the time of inspection of compliance.
Stakeholders were worried about the arduous task of maintaining physical registers and filing of returns when the complete world was in the process of digitisation. Further, the unwarranted inspections only added to their trouble of ensuring compliance. Therefore, this Scheme seems to have arrived at the right moment when amidst the pandemic, the need of the hour is safety and health in chorus with the compliance of the laws.