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Small Brands Say Panel Suggestions Favour MNCs: Cheap whiskey, rum brands could go under new booze policy

The policy proposes the total number of liquor vends in the city be increased from 720 to 916. It says the license fee collected from private players should be hiked.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 10, 2021 6:46:32 am
Delhi government, Delhi Alcohol prices, new booze policy, booze prices, Delhi news, Indian express newsOutside a liquor shop. (Express Archive)

A Panel formed by the Delhi government to suggest ways to increase revenue from the sale of alcohol and other excise activities has suggested that economy brands of rum and whiskey under Rs 140 per bottle be discontinued.

The committee has also suggested making eligibility criteria for registration of brands tougher for lower priced categories.

For whiskey costing less than Rs 601, the report containing the recommendations says, registration should be allowed only if the brands and its variants have sold a minimum of 1 lakh cases each in at least 5 states which have an IMFL industry higher than Delhi in the previous year.

The policy proposes the total number of liquor vends in the city be increased from 720 to 916. It says the license fee collected from private players should be hiked.

At present, Delhi government earns Rs 5,068.7 crore from fee, duty and brand registration. If the recommendations are implemented, the report says, the revenue can be expected to increase to Rs 7,651 crores.

Small brand manufacturers have written to and met Delhi government officials regarding the policy and have raised their concerns. “The proposal favours only a few MNCs. It will force closure of several small companies and lead to vast unemployment. In Delhi, there have been no tragedies because of poor quality alcohol… Almost 80% supply of regular and medium segments of the total Delhi market are being made by local companies whereas MNCs supply only 15-20% supply in the semi-premium and premium segment whisky,” said Bhup Singh, spokesperson of the Delhi Alcobev Association.

He also said that since MNCs will be the ones getting the benefits of the policy, people will be forced to buy expensive alcohol since the smaller players will be pushed out of the market.

The proposals also include discontinuation of economy brands, which will force a section of the people to go for illicit liquor or buy from neighbouring states,” said another industry member.

Delhi government officials said they have received some objections and they would take a considered decision before coming out with a new policy.

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