It has urged the Delhi government to expedite the announcement of the policy details and implement recommendations of a Group of Ministers in toto “for the health of the revenue and trade as well as interest of the consumers.”
In a letter, the body has also sought an appointment with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to put their case concerning the new policy.
The ISWAI is a representative body of the international spirits and wine companies having business establishments in India. Diageo-United Spirits, Pernod Ricard, Beam Suntory, Bacardi, Moet Hennessey and Brown-Forman are among its members.
The Delhi government had approved on March 23 a new excise policy which had lowered the legal drinking age to 21 from 25 years.
It had also withdrawn the government from running liquor vends in Delhi. According to the government, the move is expected to lead to an annual revenue growth of 20 per cent.
The ISWAI has repeatedly raised the issue with the Excise department and is grateful that its expert committee and the GOM have seen reason, and recommended scaling down minimum drinking age to 21 years from 25 years and number of dry days.
“We believe the proposal for extended hours for on-premise AlcoBev outlets is good and in keeping with Delhi’s image of a modern and bustling city that caters to a large number of young residents and tourists.”
It would also provide relief to the hospitality industry that has been hard by the current pandemic, the association said in the letter.
“Doing away with the complex policy structure will go a long way in allowing ease of doing business and thereby do away with the resistance of newer players to bring their products to the Delhi market,” the association claimed in their letter to Baijal.
The positive aspects of the GOM’s recommendations approved by the Delhi Cabinet include route-to-market where the private trade will hold sway, and consumer demand (and not incentivised brand pushing) will be key in deciding which brands will be sold and in what quantity, it said.
The recommendation for a more evenly spread retail network across Delhi will check the rise of informal supply chain. Also the system where the L-1 wholesale licensee will have no backward or forward linkages into manufacturing or retail will keep in check the emergence of monopolies and cartels, it said.
Lack of adequate supply points to meet demand often leads to the rise of an informal supply chain which paves way for non-duty paid stuff as well as threat of illicit, spurious stocks that are harmful to health of consumers, said ISWAI.
“We have seen comments to the effect that the policy is aimed at benefitting a few to the detriment of the majority. Nothing can be further from the truth the retail value of the AlcoBev industry is of the order of Rs 2.25 lakh crore, and there are many players who would meet the minimum conditions that the policy stipulates,” it said.Recommendation for moderation of the brand registration charges, and the volume criterion is indeed a huge positive for the smaller players, and for new brand introductions, thereby giving the consumers in Delhi a much wider range of products to choose from, it said.