Delhi restauranteurs laud new excise policy say it is ‘path breaking’ and will ‘revolutionise’ the sector

Restaurateurs in Delhi have welcomed the new excise regime which came into effect on Wednesday, saying when implemented fully, it will help recover losses incurred by the sector due to the Covid-induced lockdowns.

With the new regime in place, the L-17 licensees, which include independent restaurants or gastro-bars, may serve any Indian or foreign liquor anywhere like the balcony, terrace, or lower area of the restaurant with the condition that the alcohol serving area be screened off from public view.

They can also play live music and have professional performances, bands, DJ, karaoke, singing and dancing at the premises.

Rahul Singh, owner of The Beer Cafe and trustee of the National Restaurant Association of India said the new policy is “path breaking” and will revolutionise the restaurant sector.

“Delhi is the most visited city in India, and has the heritage and a diverse cuisine to suit every palate. Availability of alco beverage with one’s meal enhances the experience of an outing in a safe and regulated environment. However, it was one of the most under-served mega cities with just under 600 restaurants having the license to serve liquor,” he said.

The new policy is in sync with current times and social perspectives by providing ease of doing business and favourable conditions like extended time, reduced age and many others which will augment the state revenues, he opined.

“The new policy is path breaking and will revolutionise the restaurant sector which is one of the largest employment generator and has dependent allied sectors which be positively impacted too,” he added.

Joy Singh, co-partner, Raasta and Yeti, termed the new policy as very progressive as it reduces paperwork for procuring a liquor license.

“There will be fewer documents required for procuring a liquor license. It’s a very progressive policy and after it is fully implemented, it will be a boon for us. It should help us increase numbers and recover losses incurred during the pandemic,” he said.

However, a restaurateur requesting anonymity said there are some doubts regarding the new policy which need clarification like from when can we start operating till 3 am and whether the order to reduce drinking age has come into effect yet or not.

(Cover:  Getty Images)

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