The National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) has extended its wholehearted support to the Prime Minister’s appeal made during his address to the nation yesterday about caring for the underprivileged and daily wage earners during the current crisis. In his address, PM Modi appealed to every Indian to accord topmost priority to providing food to the daily wage workers.
In a statement, released shortly after the PM’s address, the NRAI affirmed its total commitment to the call given by the Prime Minister.
“The underlying message delivered by the Hon’ble Prime Minister in his address to the Nation is a clear indicator that human issues have to take precedence over commercial considerations under the current circumstances. Apart from urging every Indian citizen to take medical precautions and care right now, two big human elements of his talks were about providing meals to the poor and underprivileged citizens and an appeal to corporates to avoid sacking people at this time. NRAI is fully committed to support both these appeals of the Hon’ble Prime Minister,” said Anurag Katriar, President of NRAI and CEO & Executive Director of deGustibus Hospitality Pvt Ltd.
“NRAI has already produced and served almost one and a half million meals in two weeks under its #FeedTheNeedy initiative with active crowdfunding efforts. Under its campaign launched two weeks ago called #FeedTheNeedy, the NRAI began serving meals to the people living on the margins who bore the maximum brunt of economic aggravation cause by the ongoing lockdown. The idea and objective of the campaign was to leverage the available food production infrastructure for larger public and work for the societal good. “Subsequently, with generous support from our members, efficient support of the administration in various cities and generous contribution by hundreds of donors, #FeedTheNeedy initiative has already served little under One and a half million meals in these two weeks and we don’t intend to stop. We aspire to serve up to ten million meals in coming weeks,” asserted Katriar.
However, as the industry itself is fighting for its mere survival, under the circumstances, it is not left with any resources to pay wages to its own employees despite the best intentions to do so.
“We have already made representations to the Hon’ble Finance Minister and the NITI Aayog to provide for some unemployment pay covers for our workforce and that seems to be the only visible option to honour the appeal of PM Modi. We fully understand that our first priority as a nation is to fight the menace of the Novel Coronavirus but as expressed by PM earlier today, we cannot ignore the human issues,” added Katriar.
He further said: “While we support the extended lockdown announced by the Prime Minister earlier today, it has further diminished our ability and opportunity to bounce back in the post-COVID era, apart from intensifying the risk of massive job loss in the sector. We are banking on the Govt. support to tide over this crisis as well as on the announcement of a larger stimulus package for the Industry post the lockdown.”
Furthermore, he added, “Our stated endeavor to serve ten million meals cannot be fulfilled without the donations received from the larger public community. On behalf of the entire industry, I urge everyone, whether corporate houses or individuals, to please support us in this cause by donating funds and groceries. To put it in a simple perspective, even a humble donation of Rs 1,000 can feed up to 50 hungry people.”
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