Rolling out the excise policy 2022-23, the Punjab government has allowed the sale of an unlimited quota of beer and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and the move is expected to bring down the liquor prices by 35-60 per cent, effective July 1. Moreover, after the new policy, the state is expected to garner a total revenue of Rs 9,647.85 crore in the current financial year as compared with Rs 6,158 crore in 2021-22. Here’s all you need to know about the state’s new excise policy:
Features of Punjab’s New Excise Policy
Under the excise policy 2022-23, distillers, liquor distributors and retailers have been de-linked. Earlier, they were all involved in the liquor retail business. In the case of country-made liquor, each distiller will appoint one distributor. Similarly, all other manufacturers will have one distributor, who will then supply liquor to all retailers. The ban on the opening of new distilleries in the state has also been lifted.
The policy garners revenue through licence fee, which is derived through e-tender/auction. Cow cess and special licence fee has also been subsumed under the licence fee. The excise duty on IMFL, beer and imported foreign liquor (IFL) has been kept at 1 per cent. The government will introduce 40 degrees PML, which will be in white colour and sold in 180 ml food-grade plastic pouches, to discourage illicit distillation from lahan.
Will The Prices of Liquor Fall?
The prices of liquor in Punjab will now be 10-15 per cent lower than in Haryana. Beer prices will vary between Rs 120 and Rs 130 per bottle against Rs 120-Rs 150 per bottle in Chandigarh. The beer rate in Punjab currently is around Rs 180-Rs 200 per bottle. The IMFL’s most widely consumed brand will now cost Rs 400 in Punjab, compared with Rs 510 in Chandigarh. Currently, the bottle is available in Punjab at Rs 700, according to a report in The Tribune.
The lower prices will help curb the smuggling of illegal liquor into Punjab from Haryana and Chandigarh. The Punjab government expects to increase the excise revenue by 40 per cent with the curb on smuggling.
What Punjab Government Says
Excise Commissioner Varun Roojam, as quoted in The Tribune report, said, “We have made several structural changes, but the policy has many checks and balances to ensure that smuggling into and from the state is kept in check. Though the quota is open for both IMFL and beer, the Excise Commissioner will have overriding powers to prohibit the excess lifting of liquor quota and demand will be continuously assessed.”
The department’s enforcement wing was being strengthened to check liquor adulteration, smuggling and curb opening of illegal distilleries. “For this, two additional battalions of the police are being allotted to the department,” Roojam said.
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