The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday exempted businesses from the scope of all but four labour laws for the next three years to boost investments hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Adityanath.

The four laws that will still apply to businesses are the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, Section 5 of Payment of Wages Act, Workmen Compensation Act and Bonded Labour Act.

“All economic activities in the state have been severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic,” the government said in a press release in Hindi. “To bring the economy back on track, the government has decided to exempt factories and manufacturing establishment from labour laws for three years.”

The government’s ordinance will apply to both existing businesses and the new factories that are being set up in the state.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary RK Tiwari told Business Standard that there was a need to provide some relief to businesses in times of crisis. “The idea is that in the present circumstances where we need to provide employment to workers who have migrated back to the state and to protect existing employment, some flexibility has to be given to business and industry,” he said. Tiwari added that the state government will now send the ordinance to the Centre for approval.

Uttar Pradesh has reported 3,071 cases of the coronavirus so far, ANI reported, quoting the state’s health department. Sixty-two people in the state have died of Covid-19.

The state’s neighbour Madhya Pradesh, meanwhile, exempted firms from inspections by the labour department and maintenance of registers while also allowing flexibility in extending the shifts of workers, according to The Economic Times.

The nationwide lockdown has severely hit economic activity in the country. In the third phase of this lockdown, the Centre has however allowed certain relaxations to businesses.