Failing to achieve the revenue target from sale of liquor in 2018-19, Punjab government has decided to increase the minimum guarantee quota (alcohol to be sold by every contractor) next fiscal, deviating from the Congress manifesto released before 2017 Assembly election.
The government missed out the revenue target by Rs 600 crore during the current fiscal as it had decreased the quota by over 30 per cent as the Congress manifesto had promised that they would take people off drinking gradually. Also, the government has not affected any change in the prices of liquor. It had reduced the prices from Rs 10 to 35 last year to check smuggling of liquor from neighbouring states.
As per excise policy for the next fiscal, cleared by the Cabinet on Saturday, the state will sell 1.18 crore more bottles of Punjab Made Liquor (PML) compared to last year. Similarly, the state will sell 28.36 lakh more bottle of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and 66.15 lakh more bottles of beer.
In all, 13.04 crore bottles of PML, 4.69 crore bottles of IMFL and 4.65 crore bottles of beer need to be sold in the next fiscal.
According to the policy, the quota of PML has been increased from 5.78 crore proof litre to 6.36 crore that is around 10 per cent taking in account the consumption pattern during 2018-19. The quota of IMFL has been increased from 2.48 crore proof litre to 2.62 crore that is 6 per cent and beer from 2.57 crore bulk litre (BL) to 3 crore bulk litre that is 16 per cent.
The government has, however, levied a bottling fee of Re 1 per BL, which will generate a revenue of Rs 30 crore annually. The amount will be utilised for alcohol de-addiction.
To encourage whole sale trade (L-1 licences) in smaller districts, the fixed licence fee for IMFL has been reduced from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 25 lakh and a variable fee in the form of additional licence fee at Rs 3 per proof litre on IMFL and Rs 2 per bulk on beer.
Excise Commissioner Vivek Partap Singh said the licencees can carry forward their unsold quota of liquor of 2018-19 to the next year with a nominal fee. “This will help us consolidate as the contractor will be in trade in Punjab next year also,” said Singh.
The allocation of vends will be through draw of lots. The fee has been hiked from Rs 18,000 to 30,000.
To control smuggling of liquor from neighbouring states, one additional Battalion comprising one IG/DIG of police with SP rank officers at divisional level and required number of DSPs, along with 50-60 police staff in each excise district, will be created for the department of excise and taxation. The concept of MRP-linked ex-distillery issue price has also been introduced. With this, market forces will come into play and the distilleries will be able to fix their own rates.
For ease of doing business, 5-Star or higher category hotels have been allowed to serve liquor round the clock in their bars. A new license will be granted for sale of IMFL at the airports. This licencee will sell liquor with more than Rs 2,500 EDP only.
On the lines of Uttar Pradesh, the brands manufactured by plants outside the state will be registered in Punjab, only after they meet the criteria of annual turnover of not less than Rs 100 crore, the production capacity of not less than 5 lakh cases and business in at least three states with minimum one crore population.
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