GET READY to pay more for your favourite liquor. Retail prices of premium scotch brands and mid-segment whiskeys have gone up by 25 per cent in Maharashtra.
While the state government had announced a hike in excise duty on Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) with effect from January 1, liquor manufacturers had deferred declaration of the revised maximum retail prices (MRPs) until now on account of availability of old stock.
While the hike in excise on IMFL ranged from 4 to 25 per cent on the MRP depending on the type of alcohol, sources said the premium and the mid segment, which accounts for about 32 per cent of the liquor industry in the state, was hit the most.
While liquor manufacturers are still unhappy about the hike, senior government officials justified the move by saying that the last duty hike in the IMFL segment had been carried out in 2013.
Following the hike announcement, the state’s excise revenue earnings have dropped by about 14 per cent as compared to last January.
As per the latest statistics, the government had amassed Rs 651 crore in excise duty from liquor sales between January 1 and January 22, 2019. Around the same time last year, the same revenue was Rs 760 crore.
Senior officials said the sharp drop in revenue was due to manufacturers delaying the infusion of fresh liquor stocks in the market. Anticipating the duty hike, a liquor giant had reportedly dumped more old stock in the market.
Excise Commissioner Ashwini Joshi, when contacted, said that overall, there had been a 16 per cent growth in excise revenue this year.
For 2018-19, the state has set a revenue target of Rs 14,343 crore. Till December end, the department had already garnered over Rs 11,000 crore.