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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Delhi: NDMC modifies compliance norms for eating establishments

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) had passed an order on March 31 allowing eating establishments such as restaurants and cafes to submit documents required for health licensing online, as well as allowing them to obtain medical clearance for their staff from non-NDMC health centres.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: April 29, 2021 4:25:54 pm
NDMC modifies compliance norms for eating establishmentsIn the last 10 days, from April 18 to April 27, as many as 3,049 died of Covid in Delhi. And an almost equal number, 3909, died suspected to have had Covid. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

In a bid to minimise regulatory compliance burden on eating establishments, previous regulations such as issuance of medical health certificates from New Delhi Municipal Council’s Food Handler Unit (FHU), off-line payments and submission of documents and reapplication of license every three years, have been modified.

Now, instead of the NDMC’s FHU, restaurants and cafes can get medical fitness certificates from any government hospital and labs, and submission of documents – such as those regarding fire safety, electricity and water supply, effluent treatment plants and grease chambers – can be done online. The health license will now be renewed every five years instead of three.

In an order passed on March 31, the NDMC had allowed eating establishments to submit documents required for health licensing online, as well as allowing them to obtain medical clearance for their staff from non-NDMC health centres.

“This has been done to liberalise the procedure and reduce compliance norms, reduce harassment and delays. Now, the process can be completed in 15 days. After the documents are issued, health officials do an inspection. We recommend that the inspection happens 2 times a year, as many new staff also join,” said a senior official of the licensing department.

Some officials, however, have raised an alarm saying that not enough importance is being given to the issuance of medical health certificates. An official said, “The medical health certificates are important, as the staff need to be checked for various infectious diseases such as skin disease, TB and others, which are easily transmissible through food. The NDMC has a tradition of having its own fully functioning unit for only this purpose. Now if they permit non-NDMC hospitals to issue certifications, it can be problematic, and difficult to ascertain if it’s authentic.”

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) had passed an order on March 31 allowing eating establishments such as restaurants and cafes to submit documents required for health licensing online, as well as allowing them to obtain medical clearance for their staff from non-NDMC health centres.

In a bid to minimise regulatory compliance burden, previous regulations such as issuance of medical health certificates from NDMC’s Food Handler Unit (FHU), off-line payments and submission of documents, and reapplication of license every 3 years, have been modified.

Now, instead of the NDMC’s FHU, the establishments can get the medical fitness certificates from any government hospital and labs, and the submission of documents – such as those regarding fire safety, electricity & water supply, effluent treatment plants and grease chambers – can be done online. The health license will now be renewed every 5 years instead of 3.

“This has been done to liberalise the procedure and reduce compliance norms, reduce harassment and delays. Now, the process can be completed in 15 days. After the documents are issued, health officials do an inspection. We recommend that the inspection happens 2 times a year, as many new staff also join,” said a senior official of the licensing department.

Some officials have raised the alarm saying that not enough importance is being given to the issuance of medical health certificates. An official said, “The medical health certificates are important, as the staff need to be checked for various infectious diseases such as skin disease, TB and others, which are easily transmissible through food. The NDMC has a tradition of having its own fully functioning unit for only this purpose. Now if they permit non-NDMC hospitals to issue certifications, it can be problematic, and difficult to ascertain if it’s authentic.”

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