The Ministry of Home Affairs has approved Delhi government’s draft Bill on the “Bed and Breakfast” scheme. After the formal approval, a Bill would be introduced in the Monsoon Session of the Delhi Assembly to give tax concessions to those who opt for this scheme.
The scheme was conceptualised by the Union Ministry of Tourism and launched in November last year to tide over the shortage of 30,000 rooms for visitors during Commonwealth Games, 2010. But it did not take off in Delhi so far due to confusion over taxes and the debate that whether these house owners would be treated as commercial or domestic entities.
Delhi Tourism and Education minister Arvinder Singh Lovely confirmed that Centre has cleared the Bill. “This will go a long way in improving tourist infrastructure in the Capital in view of the Commonwealth Games,” he said.
At present, taxes include electricity tax, property tax, water tax and luxury tax. The Bill would ensure that the house owners are charged at domestic rates, not commercial and that they are not treated at par with the hotels.
This scheme requires house owners to have additional rooms so that they can apply to the tourism authorities. A police verification follows. Then the houses are rated according to their facilities and amenities. The license to operate is finally given after the entire process and grading of the house has been completed.
“The Delhi government can give upto 3 stars to these houses after verification. The upper end houses would get four and five stars by the Union Tourism ministry,” he said. The minister said that these houses would be promoted under the “incredible India” slogan and the photographs would be publicised and also put on the net.
The Bill mentions that the Bed and Breakfast scheme, wherein residential houses double as tourist lodges, is quite common in the west and a cheap alternative to the hotels and organised hospitality trade. Moreover, foreign visitors get to know the life-style of an Indian family, its cultural values and social norms.
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