ARTICLE
20 March 2024

Government Proposes Single Window For Online Food Business

SR
S.S. Rana & Co. Advocates

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S.S. Rana & Co. is a Full-Service Law Firm with an emphasis on IPR, having its corporate office in New Delhi and branch offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh, and Kolkata. The Firm is dedicated to its vision of proactively assisting its Fortune 500 clients worldwide as well as grassroot innovators, with highest quality legal services.
In the recent years the online food industry has grown rapidly. It has revolutionized the way the people order, deliver and consume the food.
India Food, Drugs, Healthcare, Life Sciences
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In the recent years the online food industry has grown rapidly. It has revolutionized the way the people order, deliver and consume the food. The conventional method of food delivery wherein the consumers ordered the food online through websites of the restaurants or other fast food chains have now been replaced with the concept of "aggregator business model"1. In this model, the business player provide a "single window system" that enables the consumers to place online order of the food from a variety of food providers who are registered on the portal and also select the type of cuisine, delivery or take away and method of payment. The payment is generally made through either cards (debit or credit card) or by way of cash and a percentage of such payment is returned to the online food company. With individuals becoming increasingly busy, the services provided by the online food delivery app allows them to place order and receive the food within a matter of minutes.

There has been increasing trend of food delivery especially during the COVID pandemic. In addition to the restaurants and takeaways, there are many other industry players who cater solely to delivering food to the consumers directly and do no operate any dine in or takeaway restaurants. Such businesses operate from independent food outlets that are located across the National Capital Territory of Delhi.2 There are approximately 20,000 independent food outlets, which are operational in various parts of the city. These independent food outlets provide employment to four lakh employees directly and indirectly.3

Policy for Independent Food Outlets

The Government of Delhi is in the process of formulating a Policy for Independent Food Outlets. The major aim of the policy is to streamline the process relating to registration of independent food outlets through a single window system and to work for their development and modernization.

Need for Policy for Independent Food Outlets:

The cloud kitchen operators need to apply for licenses from various governmental organizations, including, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the Delhi Police, the fire department and the Delhi Development Authority, which results in a lot of difficulties and a lack of proper licensing. Due to the lack of concrete policy, many individuals are operating cloud kitchens without obtaining proper license from the concerned authorities.

Objectives:

The following are the objectives of the policy:

  1. To recognize the independent food outlet industry,
  2. Simplify, streamline and digitalize the licensing and compliances requirements of the independent food outlet to allow such outlets to operate smoothly,
  3. To generate direct and indirect employment opportunities,
  4. To enhance the skills of the operator and employees.

What is "Independent Food Outlet"?

"Independent Food Outlet" includes all the outlets which operate independently in any commercial or industrial space without any of its products being sold to consumers on site.4 It also includes within its scope cloud kitchen, ghost kitchen, dark kitchen, satellite kitchen, virtual kitchen etc.

As per the draft policy, the Government of Delhi has decided to recognize the independent food outlets as a separate activity as most of the government stakeholder departments do not have an independent food outlet category under the policy regime.

However, all those outlets which provide dine-in or takeaway facilities are not included within the meaning of "Independent Food Outlet."

All the independent food outlets are required to register themselves with the implementing agency (i.e.) the Delhi Government's Department of Industries in order to avail benefits under this policy.

Measures for development of Independent Food Outlets

  1. Single Window Portal: The Delhi Government's Department of Industries has been given the responsibility to develop a single-window portal for licensing and compliances. The portal will function to grant licenses and permissions for setting up and operating the independent food outlets in the New Delhi.
  2. No Fire NOC: All the independent food outlets having a cover area of less than 250 sq. mtrs. are not required to have a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the fire department, while all the other independent outlets are required to have a NOC from the fire department.
  3. No Time Restriction: The policy will allow all the independent food outlets to work 24X7 in the commercial areas such as markets and industrial areas which will be notified by the government.
  4. Development of Infrastructure: If a need is felt then the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) with the assistance of Delhi State Industrial & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (DSIIDC) will develop independent food outlet facility in any industrial/commercial areas.
  5. Skill Development: The Delhi Skill and Entrepreneurship University (DSEU) shall undertake measures to enhance the entrepreneurship and other requisite skills of the independent food outlet operator and their employees by conducting training and short-term courses in different fields such procurement, production, management, marketing, logistic etc.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the policy governing the independent food outlet is crucial for ensuring the food safety, hygiene and compliance with the local regulations. This policy aims to streamline the licensing and compliance requirement of the independent food outlets while working for their growth. The policy also aims to generate employment opportunities and to enhance various skills of the operators and employees of the independent food outlets. Under this policy the city's food outlets will also be developed, drawing inspiration from the renowned food culture of Singapore.5

Ritvik Kashyap, Intern at S.S. Rana & Co. has assisted in the research of this Article.

Footnotes

1 Available at – chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/ https://www.researchgate.net/profile/K-S-Chandrasekar/publication/335977154_ijrte1/links/5d887f4692851ceb792fad84/ijrte1.pdf

2 Available at – chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/ https://industries.delhi.gov.in/sites/default/file s/Industries/marquee-files/draft_policy.pdf

3 Available at- https://www.business-standard.com/india-news/delhi-govt-to-introduce-cloud-kitchen-policy-to-boost-state-s-economy-123062200357_1.html

4 Available at- https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/delhi/2023/Jul/06/delhi-govt-seeks-feedback-on-policy-for-independent-food-outlets-2591965.html

5 Available at - https://www.aninews.in/news/national/general-news/delhi-govt-to-bring-a-cloud-kitchen-policy-two-locations-to-be-transformed-as-food-hubs20230621235358/

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