The restaurant industry in the national capital which was one of the most severely impacted sectors due to the pandemic will now get some respite. The Delhi government announced major reforms for the sector on Wednesday. Restaurants in Delhi will now be allowed to operate 24x7. The government has also abolished the need for a tourism licence and multiple other licences including health and trade. CM Arvind Kejriwal asked the officials to ensure that measures to this end are taken at the earliest.
Health licences issued by civic bodies would be abolished within 10 days. The Delhi government has also amended old rules regarding service in open areas and balconies. Open-area services will be allowed without extra fees and permit licences for all types of music will be allowed. CM Kejriwal is yet to decide on new uniform fire safety norms. Also up for review will be the current policy of 10 per cent automatic yearly increase in licence fee.
These reforms come as the government aims to put the sector back on its feet. CM Kejriwal said all hassles that came in the way of ease of doing business for the restaurant industry must be done away with. Calling restaurants the 'pride of Delhi' at a meeting with National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), the CM said that eateries provide employment to lakhs of people across the city.
The requirement of a designated liquor store was also abolished. Restaurants have also been allowed to keep stocks of liquor anywhere in the licenced premises.
Deputy CM Manish Sisodia also announced that restaurants will be allowed to pay excise dues by March 31 instead of the existing deadline of February 28.
A technical committee will be constituted that will examine ways to enhance fire safety in old and heritage sites such as Connaught Place and Khan Market within 10 days. CM Kejriwal will apply the uniform fire safety norms based on the recommendations.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) will also write to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to go back to the earlier decision to exempt restaurants from setting up a dedicated effluent treatment plant (ETP). Restaurants with less than 100 seats were earlier exempted from setting up an ETP that treats wastewater.