Restaurants Seek Input Tax Credit, Low-interest Loans

The restaurant industry, buffeted by the pandemic-led on-again, off-again curfews and ban on dining-in, is seeking restoration of input tax credit, cheaper loans, enhancement of the government’s emergency credit scheme, and introduction of furlough schemes in the upcoming Budget.

“The most important thing we need right now after two years of immense plight is the restoration of input tax credit. This will enable the already beleaguered industry to keep its head above water,” said Zora-war Kalra, managing director of Massive Restaurants, which runs brands including Farzi Café, Made in Punjab and Bo Tai. “This is available for other industries and is our No.1 humble request.”

Kalra said that without the restoration of input tax credit, many restaurants will find it hard to survive in the next 12 months. “Also, the possibility of furlough schemes, like in the UK.

We also request for the availability of very-low interest working capital loans to help people restart their businesses, as each lockdown requires significant startup capital,” he said.

Rahul Singh, founder of The Beer Café, said that with an industry battered thrice over in the past two years, just the intent of the Budget for sector’s survival and restoration of jobs is industry’s humble expectation.

“Specifically, enhancement of ECLGS (Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme), ABRY (Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana) relief and reinstating input tax credit on GST will provide impetus to revive,” he said.

Priyank Sukhija, CEO of First Fiddle, which runs Lord of the Drinks, Café JLWA, Diablo, and The Flying Saucer, said the industry is seeking help and input tax credit needs to be restored at the earliest. Sukhija had shut his out-lets in Delhi, barring one, after the government imposed a ban on the dine-in business owing to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

“We spend so much money on building the restaurants. It is high time that the input tax credit is restored. The government is not bothered. There should also be a special loan sanctioned for the industry,” he said.

Miten Shah, cofounder of The Studs Sports Bar & Grill, said developments such as multiple operating hour restrictions, capacity restrictions, and lack of land-lord support have all made things difficult for the restaurant industry, which contributes over 10% of the overall employment of the country’s ‘young’ working class. S-ET

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