Thursday, March 3, 2011


Guest Control Order is quite short-sighted!

Recently, the Government has announced its intention of implementing the Guest Control Order (GCO) of 1960s again. This law will predominantly check the rampant wastage of food in lavish wedding parties. The rationale ensures that this law would put a capping on the number of guests invited for a wedding and similar occasions. Limiting the number of guests allowed at weddings will eventually help in reducing the wastage of food. Reiterating a known fact, in most marriages the wastage of food is both ubiquitous and blatant. But then, such wastages are not merely restricted to marriages; similar wastages take place in restaurants, corporate events and even at homes! Anybody who is more into social gatherings would be quite conversant with the amount of food wasted in parties. And thus, if the whole idea of guest control order of 60s is to check food waste, then capping guests in marriages only seems to be a prejudiced and half hearted initiative!

In fact, why go so far? If one keeps a track of the amount of food left at their dining table daily, the collective annual food waste per person at home would be much more than what he/she wastes at a few weddings! The same rationale holds true for buff et at restaurants, or for that matter, corporate parties – which are no less in terms of grandeur and lavishness when compared to any wedding. Axing wedding parties will not only hurt the entire essence of Indian wedding – where presence of relatives and friends enhances the festivity – but will also dent the great wedding industry at a large. The Indian wedding as an industry is estimated at around Rs.30,000-50,000 crore directly and is growing at 25 to 30 per cent a year with cities like Mumbai and Delhi alone contributing nearly Rs.7,000 crore each per annum. Th e Indian wedding industry on a whole, which includes allied industry collectively, generate Rs.1,20,000 crore annually. Any step like GCO will not only hamper the growth of this industry, but also throw many people out of jobs.

If the Government is serious about controlling the wastage of food, then it has to find out means to fine those who waste food and not the entire industry itself. Food wastage is more of a habit than practice. Take for instance, the Hayashi Ya Japanese restaurant on the Upper West Side of the US charges 3 per cent extra if there are left over of food on your plate. Similarly, householders could be fined up to £1,000 in UK, if they fail to comply with the new rules on refuse sorting.

In order to check food waste, the Government should issue a fine on restaurants and event managements instead of inserting a cap on the number of guests. Moreover, it can ensure that hotels and wedding planners take actions in order to control such activities. An intervention by hotels and event management in curbing such practices would be more effective. Moreover, given the complexity of Indian marriages, a proper count of guest is practically impossible.

I’m strictly against wastage of food, particularly at a time when the food inflation is high and there are millions who go to bed without a morsel. But then, curbing the expanse of marriages would do more harm than good. The Government might marginally succeed to check food waste, but it cannot answer to those millions whose earnings are connected to the industry. The law is too short-sighted and calls for a complete overhaul, which is hard to expect from a government that still allows people to die of hunger while food grains rot in the godowns!


1 comment:

  1. Guess Gov. should start off by 1st bring the issue in front of public through Public TV campaigns and commercials...
    As you have rightly pointed out - ITS MORE A HABIT... The event managers / restaurants can very easily enter into tie ups with NGOs for redirecting the remaining food to the needed and the wasted left overs for producing green energy...