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Number of liquor vends to be reduced; revenue to go up

| | Chandigarh | in Chandigarh

Bringing cheer to the Bacchus lovers, the Punjab Government has decided to reduce the number of vends to boost competition, checking the prices in the process.

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved the State’s new Excise Policy 2018-19, aimed at checking the liquor cartels besides helping the state to earn additional revenue of about Rs850 crore in the next fiscal, in its meeting chaired by the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Aiming to earn Rs6,000 crore from the liquor trade in 2018-19, the state government is expected to generate Rs5,150 crore revenue in the current fiscal (2017-18), against Rs4,400 crore it earned in 2016-17.

The policy, formulated in consultation with various stakeholders, is mainly focused on breaking the monopoly in the liquor business, besides keeping the liquor prices under control by slashing the group size from Rs40 crore to Rsfive crore, thereby increasing the number of groups from the current 84 to around 700 in the next fiscal. Under the new policy, the liquor group size has been kept at Rsfive crore only with variation up to 25 per cent to enable sufficient competition in the market, leading to reduced prices. The rate of application has been fixed at Rs18,000, including GST, if any.

To streamline the business, the number of liquor shops will be reduced from 5,850 to approximately 5,700. Further bringing in greater transparency, the policy propose to allot the vends through draw of lots.

The quota of Punjab Medium Liquor (PML) has been reduced from 8.44 crore proof litres (PL) to 5.78 crore PL — reducing by 32 percent, of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) from 3.71 crore PL to 2.48 crores PL—reducing by 33 percent, and that of Beer from 3.22 crore BLs to 2.57 crore BL — reducing by 20 percent — under the Minimum Guaranteed Quota. At the same time, the Chief Minister has directed the Excise Department to strictly monitor the policy implementation to ensure that there is no deviation in collection of projected revenues. As per the policy, each license will be granted on a minimum guaranteed revenue basis, which will consist of fixed license fee and excise duties or levies chargeable on minimum guaranteed quota.

The licensee will be liable to pay such minimum guaranteed revenue even if he does not lift the quota allocated to his license, said the spokesperson adding that the settlement will be on monthly basis, which will also help in removing the supply of excess liquor to bootleggers. The Policy also provides that leftover excess quota of 2017-18 be carried forwarded in Minimum Guaranteed Quota of 2018-19, subject to payment of Excise Duty for 2018-19.

Under the provisions of the Policy, a fixed license fee will be chargeable at the time of grant of license which will be fixed by the Collector-cum-DETC depending upon the quota of the Group and location of vends. The excise duty has been levied instead of license fee, special development fee, extra license fee as part of the new policy.




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