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Monday, 13 November, 2017, 18 : 00 PM [IST]

FHRAI to broad base its membership to strengthen lobbying power

To come up with draft 5-year vision paper soon
Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) as part of strengthening its lobbying power with the governments at different levels in the country, will embark on an exercise to broad base its membership further. This was informed by Garish Oberoi, newly elected President of the Federation in an interaction with the media here. "Membership base of the Federation has to grow so as to make us the true representative body of the entire spectrum of hospitality. It matters a lot when you engage and negotiate with governments," he said.

He said that guest houses, banquet businesses, food courts, etc., can also be part of the system to strengthen the lobbying power. He said that the first board meeting of the newly elected committee discussed the matter. When invited his attention to the existing constitutional constraints of the Federation, Oberoi said that they are open to call an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) if needed to amend the constitution. “Anyway, we work for the entire industry notwithstanding whether anybody is our member or non-member. Then why can’t we have everyone as our members,” he observed.

To another question on the term of office of the President at the Federation, which is a challenge, as one-year term is too short to bring in any big changes in the industry body, Oberoi said that they are in the process of bringing in a 5-year “vision document” for the federation so that continuity is maintained on matters that requires attention irrespective of the yearly changes at the helm. “Next board meeting will discuss the draft vision document,” he added.

Commenting on the GST related issues, Oberoi said that while the decision to reduce the GST on restaurants to 5% is a welcome decision, it won’t have the desired impact on the rates of food being served at restaurants as the government has withdrawn the Input Tax Credit (ITC). The decision to withdraw the ITC is against the ethos of the GST, where the government promised the refund to avoid the cascading effect of tax, he said.  

He also lambasted the composition scheme of the government, saying it is short-sighted and would encourage a parallel economy. He said that the organised “compliant businesses” will suffer as the government increased the composition threshold to INR 2 cr. “Lot of restaurants will close down as a result of this decision of the government,” he said.      
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