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Restaurants close across India in protest at national air conditioning tax

Over 20,000 restaurants in India closed their doors on Monday in protest at a new tax imposed on air-conditioned restaurants.

The day-long strike was called by the Indian Hotel & Restaurant Association (AHAR) in response to the government’s new tax, which requires all fully or partly air-conditioned restaurants to levy an additional service charge on customers.

From April 1, owners of restaurants have to charge customers an additional 12.63 per cent on 40 per cent of their total bill as a service tax and pay it directly to the Indian Treasury.

AHAR president Arvind Shetty told the Indian media: “This move of the government is unjustified, as the service tax will now be applicable to all customers, including those in non-air- conditioned areas [of part-cooled restaurants]”.

After the strike, the affected associations will be urging the Finance Ministry to revoke the tax, he added.

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