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MTDC Boost to New Hoteliers

Mumbai, India, January 16, 2014 --( The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has proposed special 24X7 tourist zones and the abolition of archaic drinking permit rules to boost nightlife in the state.

The proposed single-window monitoring mechanism, which would kick start in six months, aims at reducing the number of licences required for opening a new hotel or restaurant from 38 to 19 besides easing the process of renewal for existing licenses.

A senior MTDC official told TOI that former state chief secretary Jayant K Banthia had given a verbal approval to the new system. The MTDC will soon have a meeting with J S Saharia, the new chief secretary, after which the final report will be submitted to the state government.

The MTDC and the department of tourism and department of urban development had appointed Accenture Management Consulting to review rules and regulations, licenses, permits and their application procedure pertaining to the hospitality industry.

"The survey has now been completed and we will have a final meeting with the chief secretary soon to discuss the modalities. Implementing the new system will also require some amendments in laws and acts, after which the new software involved in this system will be developed," said the official, adding that the system can be implemented within six months.

The official said the system is conceptually clear. "The former chief secretary seemed very positive on its implementation," he added.

The first step in the use of new software will be applying to the nodal agency, the MTDC. The investors or those wanting to renew licenses would log on with UID to the portal, fill up a combined application e-form through a drop down shopping cart of 19 license options with rates visible within time frames. "This would form the central database which would be channelized to various government departments by the MTDC in an e-format obtaining clearances with payment gateways tracked like passports applications today," said Kamlesh Barot, past president of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India, who was nominated in 2010 on the 'core committee' of the MTDC.

Currently, around 65 clearances are required from various Union and state ministries and departments for hotel projects. "The multiplicity and delay in obtaining clearances hampers growth of the hospitality sector. Hence, the new system. Eight licenses will be discontinued while 11 registrations would be combined into six, taking the number of applications to be filed for a new investor to 19," said Barot.
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