A day after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led Punjab Government released its first excise policy, the state Excise Commissioner Varun Roojam on Thursday said that the “result-oriented” new excise policy will give the death knell to the liquor mafia in the state besides checking smuggling of liquor from the neighbouring states.
“Groups have been drastically reduced for the optimum realization of the revenue and to get the benefit of economy of scale,” he said.
Commissioner said that during meetings with the licensees before the formation of the Excise Policy, it was the demand of existing retail licensees that size of group should be larger than the existing size (07-08 crore) and should be in the range of 30 crores. This will minimize inter-group rivalry, which is rampant generally when the size of the group is small, he said, adding that it will also help in weeding out unscrupulous elements from liquor trade and bring efficiency.
Further, the Commissioner said that in the new policy, the number of vends throughout the State has been kept the same, and therefore, even if, the number of groups has decreased, the employment opportunities remain the same in the retail sector. “This policy envisages the creation of new employment opportunities for the people of Punjab from the liquor-related manufacturing sector,” he said.
Roojam said that the license for setting up distilleries, bottling plants, and breweries have been re-opened and the policy has also allowed the setting up of Malt manufacturing units in Punjab with emphasis on setting up of new Ethanol Plants, all of which will open new vistas of employment for youth.
The Commissioner said that a reduction in prices will not cause a significant increase in consumption but consumers will get product at competitive rates. “Punjab has been suffering because of smuggling from neighbouring states and the reduction in prices of liquor will effectively curb the interstate liquor smuggling activities. Thus, the end consumer will be the final beneficiary,” he added.
The new policy also envisages effective excise enforcement activities at circle and district level by the officers of the Excise Department in coordination with District Police, he said adding that the Excise Department has already coordinated with Punjab Police at State level and resultantly Narcotics and Excise Cells in all district Police Headquarters have been created to have dedicated Police Force for Excise related Enforcement.
In addition to it, Roojam said that the new Excise Policy envisages putting in place a viable mechanism from manufacturing to the whole supply chain of liquor for effective enforcement by a slew of measures including the introduction of ‘Track and Trace software’ using bar-coding on all liquor supplies in the state of Punjab, the introduction of POS machines at retail vends, electromagnetic mass flow meters to measure the production, uses and dispatch of spirit at all manufacturing units, CCTV cameras (24X7) at all manufacturing units and wholesale and mandatory Biometric operated boom barriers at out gates of all manufacturing units.
The Commissioner said that the projected increase in the revenue has been calculated keeping in mind the actual potential of each group. Stating that the 40 percent estimated increase in revenue is based on ground inputs taken by the officers posted at the circle or district level, Roojam said that factor of anti-smuggling operations, as well as anti-illicit distillation operations, shall have a positive impact on increasing the revenue.
The new Excise Policy will also check illicit liquor that caused so many deaths in past regimes, he said, adding that the policy has introduced low cost 40 degree PML to be sold in pouches in illicit liquor prone areas of Punjab which will definitely wean the people away from drinking illicit or illegal liquor.
Roojam said that the people will shift from unhealthy illicit liquor manufactured illegally to low-priced legally manufactured 40 degree PML thereby decreasing illicit distillation of liquor to a significant extent.
· Reduction in prices to curb interstate liquor smuggling activities benefitting the end consumer
· Track and Trace software introduced using bar-coding on all liquor supplies in the state
· POS machines introduced at retail vends
· Electromagnetic mass flow meters to measure production, uses, dispatch of spirit at all manufacturing units
· CCTV cameras (24X7) at all manufacturing units and wholesale
· Low cost 40 degree PML to be sold in pouches in illicit liquor prone areas
· License for setting up distilleries, bottling plants, breweries re-opened
· Setting up of Malt manufacturing units allowed
· Effective excise enforcement activities at circle and district level
· Mandatory biometric-operated boom barriers at out gates of all manufacturing units