Punjab may slash the liquor prices in the next fiscal by one-third with the unveiling of a new excise policy to be tabled in the Cabinet meeting scheduled on Wednesday. The government has considered cutting liquor prices to check smuggling that was causing loss to the state exchequer as liquor in Punjab was costlier than compared to neighbouring states.
After taking over in 2017, the Congress government had hiked liquor prices which turned counter-productive.
Besides, the government plans to end monopoly of big traders on the liquor trade by reducing the large groups of traders to smaller groups. “We have a trend of bigger groups monopolising the trade. This reduces competition and the bid amount goes down. We will encourage smaller groups this time. This will also enhance competition and the generation of revenue from liquor may go up,” said an official.
With the new move, cash-strapped Punjab hopes to generate an additional Rs 2,000 crore in revenue.
During the last fiscal, a bottle of country-made liquor got costlier by Rs 10 to Rs 15 while prices of the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) went up by Rs 30 to Rs 40. The government had stated it was forced to raise the prices to check loss of revenue as the state had curtailed the number of liquor vends by 484 in compliance the Supreme Court orders. The number of vends were reduced from 6,384 to 5,900 as the state banned the operation of all liquor vends within 500 metres from national and state highways, as per SC orders.
The cabinet is also set to discuss the Education Policy under which state will unroll its transfer policy of teachers having district-wise cadres.