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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Retailers await clarity on new pricing of imported liquor, social media abuzz

State excise officials said the reduction would come into effect from the date of notification (November 18), but liquor retailers are being told that the new MRPs can be applied from mid-December.

Written by Sagar Rajput | Mumbai |
Updated: November 21, 2021 10:38:14 am
Maharashtra IMFLAccording to officials, the cut in excise duty will help boost declining sales of imported whisky in Maharashtra. (File photo)

Liquor retailers in the city are waiting for more clarity on the new Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of imported liquor brands after the government slashed excise duty on these brands by 50 per cent. Commissioner of State Excise Kantilal Umap said that his office would need at least a fortnight to set up the fresh MRPs, but fake messages are already circulating on social media platforms on the purported new rates.

Shailesh Shetty, a wine shop owner from Matunga, said, “There is still no clarity on what the new rates will be. Discussions are taking place among the wine shop owners and everyone wants to know each other. When we contacted the distributor, they told us to wait until next week.”

State excise officials said the reduction would come into effect from the date of notification (November 18), but liquor retailers are being told that the new MRPs can be applied from mid-December.

“Owing to so much confusion, when I contacted the company, they told me that it will come into effect from December 15. It may be because they must be looking to clear their stock. It is possible that setting up the new rates may take this much time,” said a wine shop owner.

Explaining the process of setting up new MRPs, Kantilal Umap, Commissioner of State Excise department said, “From Monday, the companies of these liquor companies will start sending proposals to my office in which they will be declaring their manufacturing rates and also the MRPs at which they wish to sell. Accordingly, after certain calculations, we will set up an MRP and we will declare them by putting up a list of fresh rates of imported liquor in our office at the old customs house.” To complete this procedure, Umap said that it will at least take 15 days.

Meanwhile, the wine shop owners have decided not to purchase liquor in heavy quantities until the fresh MRPs are set up by the authorities.

“Usually, there are certain discounts that we get, on purchasing liquor bottles in high quantities. But right now, we have planned that we won’t be buying them in bulk, instead, we will be buying liquor as per our daily sales,” said another wine shop owner.

Giving clarity on which brands may see a reduction in their prices, the president of the Association of Progressive Retail Liquor Vendors, Mumbai, Arwind Miskin said that the revised excise rates will apply only to those liquors that are manufactured and packaged outside India, and they will see a reduction in prices.

“Prices of liquors that are blended and packaged in India won’t be reduced,” said Maskin. He added that the government has taken “an excellent decision” to reduce the excise duty as it will double the sale of liquor in the state.

“The prices of liquor are very high in Kerala, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, so people who are travelling to Goa, Chandigarh and others states in northern India often carry at least two bottles for personal consumption and this has been causing loss to the Maharashtra government,” said a wine shop owner.

Miskin further added that multiple false messages are being circulated on WhatsApp regarding the rates that will come into effect after the tax reduction. “In those messages, it is claimed that a bottle of Chivas Regal that currently costs Rs 5,850 will come down to 3,700 but I don’t think it will be reduced by this much. I think there will be a reduction of around 20 per cent on the current MRP.”

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