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Devendra Fadnavis nod to lower drinking age in Mumbai

Proposal included in report to revive city’s vibrant nightlife

November 20, 2015 02:18 am | Updated 02:21 am IST - Mumbai:

The report forecasts a 100 per cent increase of tourist expenditure in Mumbai.  Photo: Shantanu Das

The report forecasts a 100 per cent increase of tourist expenditure in Mumbai. Photo: Shantanu Das

The famous Mumbai night life is all set for a big boost.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has approved a report to revive the city’s vibrant nightlife which has been under curfew lately over fears of growing vigilantism of police and licensing authorities.

One of the main recommendations of the report is reducing the age of drinking to 21 from 25.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis last week approved the report prepared by consultancy firm Accenture which envisages a separate Single Window Authority (SWA), headed by a bureaucrat of the rank of a principal secretary. This is modelled along Singapore’s highly successful OBLS (Online Business Licensing System).

“The Chief Minister has in-principle approved this report by Accenture, and after only a few minor changes, we would soon be rolling out a policy on the basis of this,” Praveen Pardeshi, Principal Secretary to the CM told The Hindu.

Other recommendations include 24x7 opening hours, abolition of permit rooms and permits for drinking, joint grant of operational and construction permits in a single stroke and cutting down the permissions required from the current 142 to just 20.

The issue has been debated among political parties and stakeholders. While many agree archaic laws must be done away with, resident associations fear hotel owners may get away with gross violations under guise of Maharashtra's Ease of Doing Business plans.

The 86-page report not only forecasts a 100 per cent increase of tourist expenditure in Mumbai but also a drastic jump in the ALOS (average length of stay) once the plan is implemented. The ALOS is currently taken to be two days for domestic and four days for foreign tourists arriving in Mumbai. The average tourist expenditure per day is Rs 6,718 for foreign and Rs 3,141 for domestic tourists.

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