For the restaurant industry, that has been making continuous efforts for years now to get some relaxation in licensing norms, the formation of a high-level committee of senior officials to boost the hospitality sector is surely a big development and relief, but they are hoping that the proposed changes, like permission for open air dining and licences for 24X7 operations (for NDMC areas) are executed without any further delay.
Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena recently constituted a committee comprising representatives from Delhi government’s IT department, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi Police, Fire Services and New Delhi Municipal Council, to ease the licensing requirements of restaurants and eateries. Reports say that the committee will focus on reducing the number of licences, tweaking and deleting archaic regulations, minimising documentation, bringing in time-bound approvals and promotion of self-regulation, and simplifying the entire process through a single-window system.
We are excited that complicated licensing norms are being looked into: Restro owners
Some members of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) also held a meeting with authorities recently and reiterated their concerns over open air dining and requirement of multiple licences to run operations.
“We are very positive and hopeful about this committee. It has happened in the past that some very progressive steps for the hospitality sector have been announced but the execution takes ages and gets stuck in a lot of paperwork, but this time the LG has said that he wants to promote nightlife economy and we are excited that some – one is seriously looking into matters like complicated licensing norms to promote our businesses. Our immediate concerns are permissions for open air dining in NDMC areas and licences for running 24X7 operations,” says Priyank Sukhija, Delhi chapter head of NRAI.
Restaurateur Zorawar Kalra adds, “Currently getting a licence is a very laborious and time-consuming process involving many different departments and it is a big deterrent for new entrants in the industry. A single window for licensing will also help the industry that has to deal with various authorities for procuring of licences.” Restaurateur Naresh Madan adds, “Just like tatkal passports are issued immediately with – in a day or two and verification happens over that period of time, a similar process can be implemented here.”
‘Licences for 24X7 operations will be a big boost for Delhi nightlife’
Last month it was announced that 314 establishments – including online food delivery services – will be allowed to operate 24×7 in the city. A source from the hospitality industry says, “This was announced last month and many establishments (apart from the 314 services allowed) have applied. We are eagerly waiting for licences and permissions and are hoping that some of us will be able to go ahead with 24X7 operations within just a few days.”