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Customers may not eat, if they do not want to pay service charges, say Restaurants

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New Delhi, January 3: A strong disagreement has sprung between industry and government body after the Department of Consumer Affairs reiterated on Monday that paying service charge is optional for customers.

Meanwhile National Restaurant Association of India in reply has said the statement will affect around 8.5 million employees associated with the food service industry. Riyaaz Amlani, President of NRAI criticised the government’s move and said that customers who are not willing to pay service charges are free to not choose the service.

He said: If this kind of statement is made without application of mind it will be extremely detrimental to the employees. It is not just the owner but all the employees who are associated with a restaurant including the dishwasher, the caretaker, the toilet cleaner, all depend on service charge. How can you take away their livelihood without application.

Currently, restaurants and eatries 5- 20 % service charge over the bill from the customers. The DCA on Monday issued a statement saying that customers dissatisfied with service at any hotel or restaurant can opt for the service charge not being levied, as this is optional or discretionary.

Amlani in a relpy said, “It is a matter of policy for a restaurant to decide if service charge is to be levied or not.” He  further said information regarding service charge is clearly mentioned by restaurants on their menu cards so customers are well aware of this charge before availing the services and can use their discretion of not using the facility offered by the restaurant.

The decision was taken in lieu of complaints received from consumers that they were “forced to pay irrespective of the kind of service provided”, the department said.

“This decision is a double-edged sword. If the same becomes voluntary then the salaries will have to be renegotiated and the whole industry would go into a tizzy,” Shivam Bhaskar, owner of Number 31 said.

A clarification was sought from the Hotel Association of India which replied that the “service charge is completely discretionary and should a customer be dissatisfied with the dining experience they can have it waived off”, as per the department.

The department has asked the state governments to advise hotels and restaurants to disseminate information, such as through displays, that “the service charges are discretionary or voluntary” and to sensitise the companies, hotels and restaurants regarding provisions of the Act.

Wefornews Bureau

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Cabinet nod to amend Specific Relief Act for ease of business

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Ravi Shankar Prasad( Law Minister)

New Delhi, Dec 15: In a move to further ease procedures for doing business in the country, the cabinet on Friday approved a bill proposing to amend the Specific Relief Act, 1963, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced here.

Briefing reporters here after a cabinet meeting, the Minister said that with the concerned bill slated to be tabled in the winter session of Parliament, he was unable to elaborate any further on the proposed legislation apart that it was for “ease of doing business.”

“Among the significant decisions, the cabinet approved the proposal to introduce amendments to the Specific Relief Act, 1963, as part of ease of doing business,” Prasad said.

“The Specific Relief Act, 1963, is being changed substantially..being modernised for promoting growth and investment,” he added.

The government has been contemplating amendments to the Specific Relief Act to limit the compensation and relief that courts can give in cases involving execution of infrastructure and development projects.

According to official sources here, the proposed changes seek to introduce guidelines for reducing the discretion granted to courts and tribunals while granting performance and injunctive relief.

The government constituted a five-member expert committee last year, to review the Act and suggest changes needed to remove bottlenecks in execution of contract-based infrastructure development, public private partnerships and other public projects.

In its report, the committee recommended changes in the law to limit the powers of courts to award relief.
“Any publi” work must progress without interruption. This requires consideration whether a court’s intervent’on in public works should be minimal. The role of courts in this exercise is to interfere to the minimum extent so that public works projects will not be impeded or stalled,” the committee “aid in its report.

IANS

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CBEC hikes customs duty on mobile phones, TVs and other electronic items

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New Delhi, Dec 15: The Ministry of Finance on Friday increased customs duty on import of mobile phones and other electronic devices such as televisions, mobile projectors, microwave and water heaters.

In a notification issued by Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), the customs duty on certain sections of mobile phones has been raised from 10% to 15%.

While customs duty on television sets has been scaled up to 15 per cent from the existing 10 per cent.

Similarly, the customs duty on monitors, microwave ovens, projectors has been doubled to 20 per cent, as per the notification.

The Custom duty on push button telephones or mobile phones has been raised to 15 per cent from nil.

The changes will impact tech and electronic titans such as Apple, Sony which have been planing to set up manufacturing units in India.

WeForNews 

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Manish Dawar to become Vodafone India CFO

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New Delhi, Dec 15: Vodafone India on Friday announced that Manish Dawar will take over as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with effect from January 1, 2018.

Based in Mumbai, he will report to Sunil Sood, Managing Director & CEO, Vodafone India.

Dawar will take over from Thomas Reisten.

Manish joins Vodafone from Den Networks Limited where he was Group CFO.

IANS

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