In signs of a revival and delivering much-needed relief to the cash strapped exchequer of the Union Territory, there has been a buoyancy in terms of revenue mobilisation on the excise front during the last few months.
The Excise Department has mopped up around ₹842 crore as excise duty from Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and ₹119.28 crore from the sale of arrack in 2021-22.
“By March, this year we might touch ₹ 1000 crore for the first time. During the pre-COVID year, we touched the figure of around ₹ 860 crore to ₹ 870 crore, which was the highest ever,” Deputy Commissioner (Excise) T Sudhakar told The Hindu.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the department netted a revenue of ₹857 crore from IMFL and ₹81.70 crore from sale of arrack in 2019-20. In the subsequent financial year, the department took a hit of ₹91 crore revenue loss as it ended up with a collection of ₹766 crore from foreign liquor and ₹85.40 crore from arrack in 2020-21.
The revival of economic activity in the latter part of this financial year and imposition of special excise duty of 20% in July have led to a substantial jump in the excise collection, officials said.
The initial 60 days of lockdown when the pandemic hit the country and the subsequent 30 days of restrictions due to COVID-19 have led to a substantial erosion in excise tax collection.
“We must have collected ₹180 crore to ₹200 crore more if not for the pandemic. Now, we are seeing a revival and the departmentis taking all steps to plug tax evasions and curtail sale of illicit liquor. Since, excise is one the main sources of revenue, we cannot afford any kind of evasion,” said Mr. Sudhakar.
The department had put in place an online mechanism and various measures to ensure that revenue was promptly accrued. Special squads have been formed to periodically monitor liquor outlets. The squads have been directed to curtail all activities that would eventually lead to revenue loss, he said.
“The squads conducted raids two days ago and will continue with surprise checks. We will come down heavily on those indulgingin illegal sale, production, transportation of rectified spirit and spurious IMFL. The illegal activities besides causing revenue loss, will create health hazardsfor the consumers,” the Deputy Commissioner said.