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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Delhi: For restaurants, end to licence hassle, OK to run round the clock

At present, restaurants are allowed to operate between 7 am and 11 pm, without additional permissions. Those with licence to serve liquor can operate till 1 am.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: October 8, 2020 7:21:43 am
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Restaurants in the city will be allowed to operate at all hours of the day, the Delhi government announced on Wednesday.

The decision is a step towards fulfilling the promise of 24×7 operational markets, made in the Aam Aadmi Party manifesto earlier this year. At present, restaurants are allowed to operate between 7 am and 11 pm, without additional permissions. Those with licence to serve liquor can operate till 1 am.

The government has also decided to do away with the requirement of multiple licences, some of which cover the same areas but are issued by different bodies, required for restaurants to remain operational.

The decisions were taken in a meeting of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The meeting was also attended by officials from several other departments, including the municipal corporations. “On the request of restaurateurs to allow 24×7 business, it was agreed the restaurants will be allowed to operate at all hours subject to the condition they submit an undertaking that they will take care of the health and security of their entire staff. This will help the industry generate more employment in the capital through higher demand. This will set an example for the Delhi Model of ease of doing business,” a statement from the government said.

Restaurants will not have to get health trade licences, which are issued by municipal corporations, with Kejriwal saying it should be abolished within 10 days. This came about after restaurant representatives said the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India also issues food and safety hygiene licenses.

NRAI also raised the issue of being among the only few establishments requiring police licences among the retail sector. The statement said Kejriwal will decide on the matter soon. “A decision was also taken to completely do away with licenses from the tourism industry to open or run a restaurant,” the statement added. It was also decided the excise department will review its policy of a 10 % automatic increase in licence fee every year. “Delhi’s restaurants provide employment to lakhs of people. I have directed all respective departments to remove unnecessary hassles in the smooth running of restaurants,” Kejriwal said.

Riyaaz Amlani, a restaurateur and an NRAI member, said, “Restaurants are one of the key sectors for employment generation in the city. It is currently one of the most over-regulated industries, and requires multiple NOCs and duplication of licenses… I hope that a lot of duplication will get resolved… By deregulating the industry, more restaurants will open up, which will generate more employment and help the tourism industry. .”

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