India

India Twitter users welcome 'optional' service charges at restaurants

Stock photo Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Many restaurants make it mandatory for people to pay a service charge, considered a tip

No-one likes paying extra money at restaurants but Indians often have no choice, because of restaurants adding a 10-15% service charge to the bill.

That could now change. Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan tweeted on Monday that people could use their "discretion" on whether or not to pay the tip.

Twitter users have hailed the minister's announcement.

But an industry body said it would hit millions of workers.

Indians have been using social media to complain about restaurants which add a service charge to the overall bill.

The minister responded on Monday, telling people to pay the charge only when they were satisfied with the service.

Image copyright Ram Vilas Paswan

Many on social media welcomed the announcement.

Image copyright Vir Sanghvi
Image copyright Ravijot Singh
Image copyright Abhijit Majumder

But others felt that government should completely abolish the service charge to avoid confusion or friction.

Image copyright Raman Chopra
Image copyright Visakh K

Restaurant owners, meanwhile, have criticised the minister's announcement, saying that it will affect industry workers.

Riyaaz Amlani, the president of the National Restaurant Association of India, told IANS news agency that the statement was "extremely detrimental to the employees", and would hit people's livelihoods.

"It is not just the owner but all the employees who are associated with a restaurant including the dishwasher, the caretaker, the toilet cleaner, all depend on service charge," he said.

Restaurants have also rejected allegations that they "pocket the service charge" and don't give it to their employees.

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