Street food vendors selling chole kulche and paranthas, road-side eateries, restaurants, hotels, food processing units, etc., will now have to either obtain a food safety licence or register themselves with a government agency failing which they will be fined.
The Delhi government has finalised a government agency, which will oversee the process of granting licences and registering the vendors under the Food Safety and Standard Act 2006. The matter will get a final nod in a cabinet meeting to be held next week.
Health minister AK Walia on Monday held a review meeting wherein it was decided that the entire process of granting licences and registering the vendors will start within two months. Food safety licence is in addition to all existing licensing requirements from different government agencies.
“We have shortlisted a government agency that will be in charge of the entire process. We are hoping to start it soon. A place has been identified for its office. But we will first take an approval from the cabinet,” said Walia.
“The Act is supposed to ensure street food vendors observe better hygiene standards,” added Walia.
According to officials, those who fail to get a licence will have to either close down their business or shell out heavy penalties ranging from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 10 lakh if they continue without licence or registration.
Officials said that the state government has already missed the last deadline for registering and issuing licences to street vendors. The deadline has been revised to February 2014 by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, which was set up in 2008, after the Food Safety and Standards Act was passed in 2006. It became active only after regulations of the Act were notified in 2011.
Food businesses with an annual turnover of below Rs. 12 lakh will have to get registered while those with a turnover of Rs. 12 lakh and more will have to obtain a licence. As per the regulations, fee for a year’s registration is Rs. 100, while that for licences range from Rs. 2,000 to Rs.7,500.
The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) welcomed the move, stating that at least this will give some sort of identity to the vendors. “We have started a survey to identify street food vendors along with the Food and Safety Department in an attempt to register them,” said a spokesperson.