NEW DELHI:  The International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI) has lauded the new excise policy of the Delhi government, saying it will boost the revenue and trade of alcoholic beverages in the national capital.  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 the 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 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 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 the minimum drinking age to 21 years from 25 years and the number of dry days, it said.

“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 added. 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 said in its letter to Baijal.

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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.

“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.

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