Hotel & Restaurant Association of India (HRAWI), the apex body of Hotels and Restaurants in Western India in conjunction with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Government of Maharashtra (GoM) has been advocating new business strategies with a goal to give boost to the hospitality industry. HRAWI has shown optimism and believes that implementation of the new policy will encourage the growth of hotel/hospitality infrastructure in the country.
India ranked 140/189 in 2013 and 142/189 in 2014 on ease-of-doing-business index where 1 is the most business-friendly regulation country as per data released by The World Bank. Sixty five per cent of India’s population is under thirty years of age. It is, therefore, imperative to have investor friendly ease-of-business policies to attract ‘Gen-next’ entrepreneurs to this sector. HRAWI, along with MTDC and GoM through Accenture, has identified Single Window Clearance as the key solution in the ease-of-business strategy paper.
Bharat Malkani, president, HRAWI said, “High taxation and unreasonable levies are the reason why more entrants are not looking at this industry with a keen investment opportunity. Moreover, local and smaller entrepreneurs are shying away due to high investment and low rate of interest. We need to look at this in a rational way with an attitude to give boost to an industry capable of singularly taking tourism to new heights and earning formidable revenues in foreign exchange.”
At present, there are around 112 clearances (70 project and 42 operational) required from various ministries/ departments from the GoM to set up a hotel. Recognising that multiplicity and the delay in obtaining clearances from various ministries/ departments/ agencies is hampering the growth of the hospitality sector, it has recommended streamlining the current outdated systems and launch a transparent online ‘Single Window Monitoring Mechanism’ for expeditious implementation of hotel and restaurant projects.
An online single window clearance shopping cart will increase room inventory for the State and reduce room tariffs besides reducing waste of time and increase efficiency. A foreigner staying one extra night will increase forex revenue to Maharashtra Government at INR 599 crores per night.
Kamlesh Barot, past president, HRAWI said, “With the implementation of the proposal, MTDC will become the nodal agency to which restaurants and hotels will apply for new licenses and renewals. It will act as a single window that will in turn fetch all licenses from the relevant departments on the Board and have the investors pick them up from the same window. It will also ensure that the permits are granted within a set time frame. The presentations made by Accenture include topics as curbing the number of licenses, permits, NOCs and registrations from 112 to 20 for opening new establishment as well as renewing existing licenses, appraisals for special tourist zones that would remain open round the clock and abolishment of archaic drinking permit rules among other. If sanctioned and implemented at the earliest, the proposal holds capacity to boost tourism and bring India on the International map as one of the most preferred tourist destinations.”