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Service charge: What was required was a total ban, not the advisory!
The Department of Consumer Affairs (Government of India) has taken a soft stand by not imposing a complete ban on 'service-charge' levied by hotels and restaurants. It has rather advised them to not press the customers for paying 'service-charge' in case they are dissatisfied with their service.
Earlier, Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) on May 3, 2016 pictorially revealed through newspaper-advertisements that effective service-tax inclusive of cess on food served in air-conditioned restaurants is just 5.8 per cent while restaurants are levying 10 per cent additional as service-charge.

People go to hotels and restaurants for entertainment and relaxation, and not for arguing against levying of service charge in case of dis-satisfactory service. Most people do not care for clarifications/notifications issued by government departments.

If they wish to pay something extra to their staff, hotels may do it at their own rather than forcing customers for 'compulsory' contributions. It is significant that even after levy of 'service-charge' in bills, serving-staff stand before the customers in anticipation of 'tip'.

Allowing levying of 'service-charge' even though not payable in case of dissatisfactory service, is authentication of British legacy of 'tip' which was termed as a sort of bribe by former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.

Evidently, the Hotel Association of India has managed both the Department of Consumer Affairs and CBEC for being mild and soft by issuing simple advisories and clarifications rather than forcefully ordering hotels and restaurants to not levy any 'service-charge' in their bills.

Department of Consumer Affairs should instead launch a massive publicity campaign under its programme 'Jago Grahak Jago' educating people that they should discontinue the practice of paying 'tips'.

Paying 'tips' is considered to be a sort of bribe in countries with highest honesty-ranking.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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