L-G launches ‘modified unified portal’ for licensing of eating and lodging houses

New Delhi: Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena launched the ‘modified unified portal’ for licensing of eating, lodging and boarding establishments, the framework for which was done by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Deputy Manish Sisodia, according to officials aware of the details.

Interestingly, the launch of the portal has been well-timed with Sisodia being held in custody and Kejriwal dealing with political turmoil within the party and outside of it. While the Cabinet is in a stupor — induction of two new ministers — after Satyendra Jain and Sisodia resigned and CM accepted the resignation as per AAP senior officials their much-awaited moment of reward has been taken away by the L-G.

According to documents accessed by Millennium Post, common applications for all agencies have been reduced from 280 categories to 144 which was done in the financial year 2019-2020. However, the project had to be put on hold due to the pandemic but the L-G office has taken credit for it.

The new so-called “modified” unified portal was launched on Tuesday with a new overcoat of less documents with all the preparations and hard work being done by the Delhi government, according to several officials who worked on the portal.

Kejriwal along with his deputy had cleared over 300 services that could operate 24x7 and improve the nighttime economy, a move that would benefit businessmen and the people as per the documents. “Such forward steps had been taken by the CM and his deputy way earlier but now they (Central Government) have cut off Sisodia and are taking full credit for the work done but the AAP government,” a senior official who has been working on the portal since 2018 said.

“This is basically the 2019 framework that has been upgraded now. It has been streamlined by L-G. There are several material changes: disposal time for approval of licenses has been put at 49 days after which it will be deemed approved automatically,” the current President of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) Kabir Suri said. The easing of fire safety norms, which are 50 years old, was also done by the AAP government in 2019 as per documents. “Had Covid not happened it would have been launched and credit would have been given to those who worked for it,” another official added.

The Delhi government has been working on the Unified Portal for Licensing of Eating, Lodging and Boarding Establishments, and had brought in reforms in 2019 in which they had appointed a committee to review licences and documents and make it all online and reduce lengthy paperwork to help businessmen in the process as well.

However, Saxena took to Twitter to announce, “Launched the Modified Unified Portal for Licensing of Eating, Lodging & Boarding Establishments in Delhi. A major step in line with Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi’s dictum of #EaseofDoingBusiness, the new license regime is a vast improvement on the 1980 regulations in this regard,”

The “modification” is only less paperwork compared to the previous framework of 2019 as some licenses have been clubbed together but nothing new has been added or subtracted, the senior official said. “This simplified portal will enable the licensing process for the hospitality sector. Govts are meant to enable endeavor & enterprise, not obstruct them. One Common Application Form will ensure licence from 5 different agencies-Delhi Police, MCD, NDMC, DFS & DPCC within 49 days,” the tweet reads.

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