The Model Shops and Establishment Bill 2016 being cleared by the Union Cabinet shows how we are moving towards a more progressive society. It is a great move and we could not have been more thrilled about it.
Opening tourism gate
The Food and Beverage Industry is one of the highest employers in India. Extending operational timings will mean appointing more staff which will create employment opportunity for many thereby increasing revenue and taxes and helping the economy. If implemented properly, the industry will not only boost revenue and create jobs but will also improve the culture of the city. Vibrant nightlife will not only put Delhi on the global map but will also encourage tourism. A city which already has a rich heritage and is alive 24x7 with hubs like Cyber Hub, The Colonnade and Sangam Courtyard is a good catch for tourists.
The work environment is gradually changing and there are so many organizations that have to work in line with international clients or coordinate with head offices’ located outside India. Due to time difference, such organizations require their employees to work late at night or do night shifts. For them it will be such a relief as they will have a place to have a meal at any hour. The move will give restaurants the much needed flexibility and freedom to operate. No more will we have to rush a customer during their meal because we are not permitted to operate after a certain time. As a restaurateur, I feel that if we pay huge amount as rents for a space we should also be allowed to use that space 24 hours. Even if we do not operate 24x7 and are allowed to operate till 2am or 3 am it will make a lot of difference.
The legal logjam
Having said that there are a lot of things that will have to be coordinated and taken care of. Permission extension will be required for a lot of licences. First and foremost the Eating House Licence which is given by the local police licensing department and states that restaurants cannot be opened between 1 am and 5 am will have to be changed. Then we also have Excise and Taxation department that deals with licence to serve liquor. Other than that the Health Trade Licence will have to be issued by local municipality authority to operate 24 hours a day. Another important issue to keep in mind will be security. Vigilant policing will be required for a seamless and smooth functioning. If the security is taken care of, it will also be welcome a change in the mindset of people that women cannot work at night because it is not safe. The flexibility will encourage women to take up work anywhere and anytime.
All this will only be possible once state and local authorities adopt the model. Nevertheless, we welcome the move and hope it works out well.