Fewer licenses needed to open restaurants in Mumbai
03 Sep 2012

Maharashtra state tourism minister Chhagan Bhujbal recently announced that it will take fewer licenses now to open restaurants in Mumbai and license renovation period will be extended from the existing one to five years while luxury taxes will be slashed. The minister also mentioned that the government is considering single window clearance system for hotels.

This came two days after chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s promise that pubs and restaurants will be allowed to stay open till late in the night.

Addressing a convention of tour operators, the senior Nationalist Congress Party leader said the government was considering a 50 per cent rebate on registration fee for tourism buses and stamp duty on tourism projects and levying industrial rates for use of water in tourism projects.

Speaking at the convention, senior ministers of the Union government urged Maharashtra to do more to realize the state's full potential in the tourism sector, including reduction of state taxes and building greater infrastructure.

The two ministers—Union aviation minister Ajit Singh and Union tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahai—referred to steps Maharashtra has failed to take thus far. Singh highlighted the "high" rate of tax imposed by Maharashtra on air turbine fuel (ATF).

"Maharashtra adds 25 per cent tax to the original value of the fuel, which is at least 5 per cent higher than that in Delhi. If taxes are not reduced, other airports will march ahead of Mumbai," Singh said in a report by TOI.

Sahai rued the lack of connectivity to major tourist spots in Maharashtra and urged the government to build more convention centers, connect its beaches and promote them as cruise hubs. "The state does not even promote film tourism even when it is known for being home to Bollywood," he said.

Bhujbal, on his part, requested central ministries and departments to coordinate better and help Maharashtra get faster approvals. "The Centre must delegate more power to the state if it wants to help promote Maharashtra as a tourism hub," Bhujbal said.