July 12, 2020 6:02:42 am
To make up for a revenue shortfall, the Jammu and Kashmir administration is contemplating the withdrawal of the 50 per cent additional excise duty imposed on liquor prices in the Union Territory
Excise Commissioner R K Shavan sought the waiver of the additional duty in a letter to Financial Commissioner Arun Kumar Mehta, sources said
“There has been drastic fall in the sale of liquor especially middle and low economy class brands and also the sales in army/para military unit canteens” during the past two months, the letter read, adding that “the 50 per cent additional excise duty has discouraged the consumers to purchase less quantity both in the open market as well as in the unit canteens”
“Figures have revealed that the quota lifted from the Army Depots across the Union Territory has declined as compared to previous period,” the Excise Commissioner wrote
Pointing out that it has been “reliably” learnt that many other states have rolled back the additional “coronavirus duty”, Shavan recommended that the Union Territory administration waive the 50 per cent additional duty on liquor till a new policy comes into force so that the sale and manufacturing of liquor is enhanced to generate revenue
The administration had announced the hike in May to compensate for the loss of revenue due to the Covid-19 lockdown
Though there has been no official word on the quantum of fall in revenue from liquor sales during the past two months, sources put it at a whopping Rs 125 crore in April alone
The manufacture and sale of liquor has been a major source of revenue for the administration in Jammu and Kashmir. There are nearly 220 liquor shops and over a dozen distilleries in the Jammu region alone. Kashmir, on the other hand, is a different story altogether—there are only four liquor shops in Srinagar.
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