July 5, 2021 8:57:23 pm
The Delhi government Monday made public its excise policy for 2021-22 which envisages uniform distribution of liquor outlets in the city, including at least two air-conditioned vends in every municipal ward, five super-premium stores, and 10 stores at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
The policy makes it clear that the government will exit the business of selling liquor through its undertakings such as the Delhi Consumer’s Cooperative Wholesale Store Ltd (DCCWS) and the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC). The licenses of the existing retail vends are valid till September 30.
The government has floated tenders inviting bids for setting up retail vends under the new policy, which will not allow manufacturers or wholesale traders of alcohol to bid for retail stores and vice-versa. This has been done to prevent “formation of syndicates leading to overcharging and brand influencing/pushing by entering into exclusivity arrangements with certain brands at the cost of exclusion of others”.
According to the policy, the city’s 272 municipal wards have been divided into 30 zones. Each zone — having nine to 10 wards — will have a maximum of 27 vends, with an average three vends in every ward. The licensee of every zone will have to operate at least two vends in every ward.
The total number of vends, however, will remain 849, but more evenly distributed. Out of the total stores, 276 are privately-run under the prevailing arrangements.
There will be 29 vends in the NDMC and Delhi Cantonment areas and 10 retail vends at the airport. The stores in the airport will be allowed to operate round the clock. “Every vend shall provide a walk-in experience and be designed accordingly. To illustrate, customers will not be allowed to crowd outside a vend or in the pavement and buy through the counter. Each customer shall be given access inside the vend and the entire selection and sale process shall be completed within the vend premise. The vendor has closed glass doors and should be air-conditioned and well lit… Licensee will ensure no dry snacks or cooked food outlet gets opened right outside the shop which encourages people to drink and loiter around the shop itself,” states the policy.
Separate licenses will be issued for the five proposed super premium vends, which are expected to be spread over 2,500 sq m each. These high-end stores will be allowed to sell products only above Rs. 200 in case of beer and above Rs 1,000 for all other spirits including whiskey, gin, vodka. “The Super Premium Vends can dedicate up to 10% of their space to sell ancillary products such as cigars, liquor chocolates, etc… high-end art paintings, high value merchandise such as bottle openers, ice boxes, bar glasses etc,” says the excise policy.
The price of liquor brands will be decided after taking inputs from the retail stores and taking into account the price of the product in the neighboring states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan, says the policy document. Liquor prices are significantly cheaper in Haryana as compared to Delhi, leading to rampant smuggling.
“The licensee is free to give concession, rebate or discount on the MRP,” the policy adds. Currently, liquor store owners in Delhi cannot offer any rebates on the MRP of brands.
“The current system of excise regime in Delhi is highly cumbersome and the liquor trade is conducted in an archaic manner. The excise revenue, presently generated in Delhi, is at suboptimal level and there is significant potential for revenue augmentation and also providing a decent standard of customer experience commensurate with the stature of the National Capital,” the government wrote in the introductory segment of the policy.
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