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NRAI requests govt for financial bailout package for food service sector

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The National RestaurantAssociation of India (NRAI) on Monday said it has requested the governmentfor a financial bailout package for the food service sector as over 70 lakh direct employees of therestaurant industry are facing a precarious situation due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier on March 18, NRAI had issued an advisory to all its members to shut down their dine-in operations till March 31, 2020 in view of theserious health risk to millions of employees and patronsin the foodservice sector due to COVID-19 outbreak in India, the association said in a statement.

The restaurant industrywith an annual turnover of approximately Rs4 lakh crore,providing direct employment to over 7 million Indiansis in a very precarious situation currently, fighting a grim battle for its basic survival, NRAIPresident & CEO and ED of deGustibus HospitalityAnurag Katriar said.

"Hence, we have written to our Finance Minister requesting for financial relief at such a crucial time. While preventing loss of direct jobs is our prime concern, we are also concerned about the dreams of many young entrepreneurs in the sector getting shattered due to this calamity," he added.

The restaurant industry operates with a very high proportion of fixed operating expenses which makes its business very high-risk even in case of moderate revenue fluctuations. Now it is staring at almost zero revenue in the immediate term and at least 50 per cent drop for months thereafter, Katriar said.

"We are therefore seeking support from everyone in the ecosystem in mitigating these fixed operating costs so that our losses are contained to manageable levels. The Union and the State Governments are two of the most important stakeholders and we are pinning lots of hope on them to bail us out of this unprecedented crisis," headded.

Some of the salient demands of NRAIare unempoyment, pay cover for the employees especiallythe marginal employees in the sector, deferment of all statutory dues at the central and state level, moratorium on bank loans, restoration of input tax credit on GST for the sector and a general invocation of force majeure clause in view of this global pandemic, he added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 23 2020. 14:32 IST