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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Maharashtra: Liqour sales pick up but revenue collection far behind last year’s figures

Back in May, the government started experimenting with home delivery of liquor and slowly sales were allowed in retail outlets. Serpentine queues were reported outside the shops once they opened.

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune | Updated: November 5, 2020 10:17:07 am
maharashtra liquor shops open, maharashtra coronavirus, liquor shops coronavirus, maharashtra Liqour shopsWith the Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, liquor sales had come to a standstill as licensed premises downed their shutters.

Liquor sale in Maharashtra has seen a sharp rise after the state government lifted the embargo on it in various phases of unlocking. However, revenue collection from the sale of liquor is still to catch up to the last year’s figures.

With the Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, liquor sales had come to a standstill as licensed premises downed their shutters. The state government had decided to allow the sale of liquor to get the state exchequer ringing. Back in May, the government started experimenting with home delivery of liquor and slowly sales were allowed in retail outlets. Serpentine queues were reported outside the shops once they opened.

Excise Tax is an important contributor for state finances and the lockdown had seen it drying up. Since the sale of liquor has been allowed, revenue collection has picked up but is yet to reach its pre-Covid-19 levels. Between April 1 and October 16, the state generated Rs 5,698.41 crore in revenue from the tax on liquor sale, while the same between October 17 and October 26 was Rs 325.85 crore. The total revenue generated from April 1 to October 26 was Rs 6,024.26 crore as against Rs 8,466.26 crore generated during the same period in 2019. For the financial year 2020-21, the excise department has been given a revenue target of Rs 19,225.13 crore as compared to Rs 17,977.39 crore in the last fiscal.

Sales have picked up as the process of unlocking progressed in various parts of the state. At present, licensed liquor shops are allowed to function across the state with some cities also allowing home delivery. Excise duty is paid when liquor manufacturers transport liquor to retail centres. Thus, excise collection is bound to pick up once retail demand picks up in cities.

While consumption has picked up, the gap in revenue collection is an indication of the effect the lockdown has had on the economy. Whether this gap would be bridged in the rest of the year is a matter of speculation as of now. Dip in excise collection would certainly pinch the exchequer.

Month Sales (in Rs crore)

April Rs 297.29

May Rs 581.56

June Rs 810.56

July Rs 1,144.82

August Rs 1,008.07

September Rs 1,140.30

October (till Oct 26) Rs 715.78

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