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Punjab too imposes Covid cess on liquor, bottles dearer by Rs 2 to Rs 50

The cess has been imposed in the form of additional assessed fee (AAF) on on imported foreign liquor and beer and additional excise duty (AED) on other types of liquor. The revenue generated will be used for combating Covid in the state.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
June 1, 2020 11:31:03 pm
Anil Vij, SET probe, liquor scam, Haryana news, indian express news “Faced with huge revenue losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and the prolonged lockdown in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh gave the go-ahead to the imposition of Covid cess on liquor with effect from June 1,” a government statement said.

Punjab government Monday imposed a Covid cess on liquor, ranging from Rs 2 to Rs 50 per bottle, hoping to generate an additional Rs 145 crore in revenue in the current fiscal.

The cess has been imposed in the form of additional assessed fee (AAF) on on imported foreign liquor and beer and additional excise duty (AED) on other types of liquor. The revenue generated will be used for combating Covid in the state.

“Faced with huge revenue losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and the prolonged lockdown in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh gave the go-ahead to the imposition of Covid cess on liquor with effect from June 1,” a government statement said.

Punjab, as per the government statement, is facing a revenue shortfall of Rs 26,000 crore, which is 30 per cent of the total budget revenue estimates for the financial year 2020-21, necessitating some tough measures to generate additional revenue.

A Group of Ministers constituted by the CM, with Manpreet Singh Badal (Finance), Vijay Inder Singla (Education), Sukhbinder Sarkaria (Housing and Urban Development) and Sadhu Singh Dharamsot (Forests) suggested the imposition of Covid cess after holding a few meetings with the liquor contractors in the state. The suggestion was accepted by the CM.

As per the government statement, an AED of Rs 5, Rs 3 and Rs 2 has been levied on every quarter, pint and any other smaller size bottle, respectively of Punjab Medium Liquor (PML), the same is Rs 10, Rs 6 and Rs 4, respectively for every quart, pint and any other smaller size for Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL).

Similarly, every 650 ml bottle/can of beer is set to go dearer by Rs 5, 650 ml of wine will be costlier by Rs 10 and RTD of each bottle of any size by Rs 5.

The 750 ml bottle of Imported Foreign Liquor (IFL) will be dearer by Rs 50 each, and all other sizes by Rs 30 each. Imported beer is set to go be expensive by Rs 7 per ml (750 ml).

Liquor in Punjab is already more expensive than neighbouring states owing to higher excise duty and license fee. This often leads to smuggling of liquor from other states and the Union Territory Chandigarh where the liquor is cheaper, causing a loss to the state exchequer.

A functionary of Excise and Taxation Department said that the cess was on lines of neighbouring Haryana that had proposed a similar amount. He said Delhi government had levied 70 per cent cess on excise duty. This gave an impression that the liquor had gone expensive by 70 per cent. “All the states have imposed a similar hike in liquor prices. It is not that Delhi has levied a fat tax. Ours is also corresponding,” he said.

The proceeds of the additional levy will be utilized entirely for Covid-related expenditure, the CM said., while directing the Department of Excise and Taxation to charge the cess in the current year, at the time of issuance of permits for transportation of liquor from L-1/L-13 (wholesale licenses).

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