We need better policy framework; we’re staring at large scale shutdowns: NRAI

“We need better policy framework to make ourselves self-reliant,” NRAI president Anurag Katriar said in a statement. “It is also clear that we will perhaps be one of the last sectors to open up, which means we perhaps need maximum support to stay ...

NEW DELHI: The restaurant industry is “extremely disappointed at having been completely ignored” in the five days of announcements of stimulus package, industry body NRAI said on Sunday, after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the final tranche of the government’s Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package.

“We need better policy framework to make ourselves self-reliant,” NRAI president Anurag Katriar said in a statement. “It is also clear that we will perhaps be one of the last sectors to open up, which means we perhaps need maximum support to stay alive. Our primary demands were largely around policy and liquidity support and did not require massive financial outlay from the government,” he added.

With half a million members, NRAI, or the national restaurant association of India, said it employs 7.3 million people and is the second largest employer of human capital in India after agriculture.


Among the policy demands, the sector has been pushing for the option for input tax credit on GST, to declare the pandemic as an incident of force majeure in line with the announcement made for the real estate sector, and a better and equitable e-commerce policy to protect small and mid-sized businesses.

“We're staring at large scale shut downs & massive loss of employment. With imminent closure of many F&B establishments, this will certainly cause a long-term impact on the farming sector,” NRAI’s statement said.

The restaurant sector has been brought to a standstill following the nationwide lockdown starting March 25. Even after lockdown restrictions are eased, consumers are unlikely to throng to restaurants in the near term. NRAI has also been asking the government to partially compensate wages for employees covered under the ESIC act, sought working capital on easier terms and six month moratoriums.
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Many of the country’s largest restaurant chains have deferred paying 20% to 40% of salaries to senior employees for April, even as uncertainty prevails over when the lockdown will end.
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