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Industry players welcome Delhi’s new excise policy as ‘progressive, unshackling’



New Delhi: The food and beverage industry Tuesday welcomed the Delhi government’s new excise policy allowing bars and restaurants to serve liquor till 3 am, terming it “progressive” and one that will “unshackle” the liquor trade in the national capital. The policy, industry players said, will revive the restaurant industry that is still grappling with the losses caused due to the prolonged coronavirus lockdown, while also increasing government revenue, boosting tourism and the nightlife culture in Delhi.

“This is a very welcome policy. I am very grateful to the Delhi government that it took into cognisance all the suggestions of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) in forming this policy, and potentially now Delhi can become the ‘toddy capital’ of India very soon,” NRAI president Anurag Katriar told .

As part of the new reforms, the bars in hotels, restaurants and clubs have been allowed to operate till 3 am. The new policy states that such establishments can serve liquor in the open spaces such as terrace and balcony.

According to Katriar, it was time that “liquor was brought out from under the category of sin that we call it”.

“This is the most progressive excise policy that any state in India has come up with. This will unshackle the liquor trade which is anyway overly-regulated,” he said.

Priyank Sukhija, who owns restaurant chains such as Plum By Bent Chair, Lord of the Drinks and Tamasha, said the policy was “relaxed” and a “forward-thinking” one that was at par with international cities.

“It will not only help employment, but also help restaurants that have been losing money for such a long time to be able to kind of make up (for their losses).

“It will also boost government revenue. And the biggest aspect is tourism. It is a pro-business policy. I think the Aam Aadmi Party does mean business, and this policy will give a lot of revenue, boost tourism and give a new life to Delhi,” Sukhija said.

Zorawar Kalra of Massive Restaurants Pvt Ltd, which runs eatery chains like Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, Made in Punjab, Farzi Cafe and Pa Pa Ya, agreed.

He said the change in policy will have a major effect in ensuring the revival of the restaurant industry and fast-tracking the recovery process for the entire industry.

The operational time increase to 3 am will help make Delhi into a major tourist attraction. It will also help in providing greater employment in the sector as an additional shift will be required, he said.

He added that all the stakeholders involved in the process, including the government, consumer, restaurateur and the staff would benefit from the implementation of this policy.

“There will be greater revenue, greater taxes and greater employment opportunities. The consumers get the opportunity to enjoy the city that has a vibrant nightlife .It is a very welcome move and we are hopeful that it will help in the quick revival and recovery process for the entire industry,” Kalra said.

The policy change was also welcomed by the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC), the representative body of leading Indian Alcohol Beverage Companies.

“The Delhi excise policy measures unshackle the industry, simplify pricing and distribution of liquor, and upgrade consumer experience in line with what should be expected in a modern capital of a rising world power,” said CIABC director general Vinod Giri .

Offering walk-in experience for customers at alcohol shops, and promoting microbreweries are also part of the new excise system.

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