National Restaurant Authority writes to Finance Minister, seeks 'immediate' relief measures

NEW DELHI: Food services industry body NRAI has sought an equitable e-commerce policy, multi-layered GST structure, liquidity through banks and other financial institutions with low collateral, lower interest rates and minimum moratorium of six months in the upcoming budget.

Reviving concerns over policies adopted by e-commerce aggregators, the NRAI said in a letter addressed to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman: “Our primary concerns are around the lack of data sharing by aggregators, unilateral decision-making on listing and year-round platform driven discounts.” The letter said aggregators and market place owners are following “opaque algorithms”.

NRAI said the food services sector has been “one of the most adversely impacted” sectors during the pandemic. “With an erstwhile annual turnover of approximately Rs 4 lakh crore and providing direct employment to over 7 million Indians, the restaurant industry today is in a very precarious situation, fighting a grim battle for its survival,” the letter states.

NRAI president Anurag Katriar said with almost 30% of restaurants shut down and the balance operating at a much-reduced capacity, approximately three million jobs have already been extinguished.

The industry body, which represents over five lakh restaurants and bars, said the current single rate of GST at 5% and rollback of input tax credit has put additional burden on operating costs for the already stressed sector and increased capital outflow on new projects by almost 20%. It said a multi-layered GST structure will improve collections and bring in fresh investments to the industry.

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