The Haryana excise department collected nearly Rs 75 crore as ‘Covid Cess’ on liquor sales from May to August this year, pushing the overall revenue that has been Rs 272 crore more than the revenue collected in the corresponding period last year.
Giving out the figures, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala Thursday said the government has collected Rs 2,391 crore in the first three months of the Excise Policy of the state for 2020-21 which came into effect in May. The figure for the corresponding period last year was Rs 2,119 crore.
A senior official said the department earned Rs 670 crore in May this year despite the fact that the liquor vends remained closed for almost a week because of the lockdown.
“Prior to this, the excise department had never collected such a high amount of revenue in the first quarter of the year,” said Chautala, who is also in charge of the state Excise and Taxation Department.
The state government had in May decided to impose a “Covid cess” on all types of liquor: Rs 5 per quart in case of country liquor, Rs. 20 per quart for Indian-made Foreign liquor (IMFL), Rs 5 in case of strong beer and Rs 2 in case of other beer and Rs 50 per pack greater than 375 ml in case of Imported Foreign Liquor (IFL).
Reacting to allegations of a liquor scam being leveled by the opposition, Chautala said had there been a scam, the Excise Department would not have made such a high revenue collection. This “reflects that there is no scam”, he said.
“It is for the first time that the government has collected additional excise duty of more than Rs 27 crore in the first quarter of a new financial year. This excise duty is 2,700 times more than the first quarter of last year, which is a record in itself,” he said. The additional excise duty is collected in lieu of the liquor sold by the liquor vendors beyond the mandatory quota of sale.
During 2019-20 fiscal, “the government received additional excise duty of only Rs 95,150 in the first quarter”. From the first quarter of April to June, Rs 2.88 crore was collected as additional excise duty in 2016-17, Rs 3.01 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 1.3 crore in 2018-19.
Chautala said that the new excise policy could not be implemented in the state from April 1 this year due to the lockdown. The state government gave permission to open liquor vends from May 5 under Unlock-1. In these circumstances, the new excise policy was enforced from May 6.
In response to a question, he said that GPS tracking system would be installed in the vehicles coming out of the distillery. A committee has been constituted for this purpose which is also observing the practices in other states. He said that all the distilleries will have CCTVs by the end of September. The officers have been directed to go to the distilleries and check the cameras every 15 days in the districts which have distillery. He said that an inquiry has been conducted against the officers who had issued the permit passes from March 27 to March 31 during the lockdown period and action will be taken against those found guilty as soon as the investigation is completed.
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