The NDA government is preparing to fix portion sizes of dishes served by star hotels and restaurants, a fortnight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern about wastage of food in his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio programme.
“If a person can eat only two prawns, why should he or she be served six? If a person eats two idlis, why serve four! It’s wastage of food and also money people pay for something that they don’t eat,” said Ram Vilas Paswan, minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution.
The ministry is drafting a questionnaire for hotels and restaurants to explain what dish sizes they should serve to a customer.
“They are the experts. They should tell us the maximum amount of a dish a person can eat. You go to a Chinese restaurant; they give you so much (of food). We are going to call them (stakeholders) for a meeting. The PM is concerned about food wastage and so we are going to issue instructions to these hotels (about the amount of food to be served),” Paswan told HT on Monday.
He, however, clarified the instructions would be applicable to “standard hotels” and not dhabas that “usually serve thalis”.
In his Mann Ki Baat last month, Modi had flagged the issue of food wastage at feasts and termed it as injustice to the poor.
Paswan’s latest move comes in addition to a slew of consumer-centric proposals that the ministry has incorporated in a new draft bill to amend Consumer Protection Act.
The draft bill is at present under law ministry’s consideration. In the new bill, the government has dropped the provision for imprisonment of celebrities for misleading advertisements; instead, a jail term has been proposed for producers or manufacturers.
“We dropped it (jail term for celebrities) after the group of ministers (GoM) decided to look at how other countries dealt with them. They either imposed a fine or ban (on celebrities) and so we decided to go for the same,” said Paswan.
As per the new proposal, if the producer is found responsible for misleading ads, the punishment would range from a fine to cancellation of license to a jail term, depending on the frequency of the offence.
Speaking on the controversy over cow vigilantism, Paswan said the PM has been clear from the beginning that there can’t be “goonda raj” in the name of cow protection. “What happened in Alwar (where a man was killed by cow vigilantes last week) was goonda-gardi (criminal act). Even an organisation like the RSS had to say this,” said the Lok Janshakti Party leader.
Amid speculation about the ruling NDA’s likely presidential candidate, Paswan said that there should be “one switch board” and in today’s context, it’s the PM. “He (Modi) knows the direction the country should take. He hasn’t said anything about Ram janmabhoomi or Babri Masjid or Article 370 (that gave special status to J&K),” said Paswan, referring to what once defined BJP’s ideological and political agenda.