Much welcomed by tipplers, Maharashtra has recently been witnessing some changes in its liquor purchasing rules. While for most states, drinking age is the top most criteria, in Maharashtra the scene is relatively different. The credit for this goes to the state’s excise and prohibition law, which is considered one of the most stringent in India.
The Uddhav Thackeray government recently allowed supermarkets and walk-in stores to sell wine to customers. While the government said that it would give an impetus to the wine industry and ensure that farmers get right price for their produce, leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis said that the decision would make Maharashtra a “Madha Rashtra” (liquor state).
The government has also allowed smaller retailers (with areas 100 sq metrs and above) to sell wine. But here too there’s a provision on drinking permit. Buyers not having a drinking permit will have to buy a daily permit of Rs 5 from the shop before carrying it home, a Times of India report quoted excise officials. For those consumers who have already taken annual or lifetime drinking permit from excise department, the buying gets easy as always. For this daily permit will have to be kept and issued by shops to buyers without fail while selling bottles.
Why are There Rules of Buy Liquor in Maharashtra?
• Maharashtra follows a policy of discouraging liquor consumption through high excise duties and consequently, steeper prices that translate into low sales. According to Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949, purchasing, possessing or using any liquor or alcohol without a valid permit is prohibited.
• Maharashtra saw prohibition being imposed from 1949 till the 1960s, which led to the underworld get into bootlegging in Mumbai and the state. Although curbs on liquor consumption were gradually eased, legally, one needs a permit to possess and consume alcohol.
• The legal age for drinking Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) is 25 years, while that for mild liquor-like beer is 21 years. Possession of the annual or lifetime permit allows the holder to stock 12 units of alcohol every month (one unit includes 1,000 ML IMFL or country liquor, 1,500 ML wine and 2,600 ML of beer).
• Since neighbouring states and union territories like Goa and Daman have comparatively liberal policies and the cheaper liquor, this leads to it being clandestinely brought into Maharashtra.
How to Obtain Liquor Permit in Maharashtra?
• The state excise department has launched an online portal and an app, ‘exciseservices.mahaonline.gov.in’, to grant liquor consumption permits.
• The permit can be obtained by simply keying your Aadhaar Card number on the website or the app. A digital permit will be provided within few minutes of the application. The applicants can even check the application status online.
• The system also allows citizens to avail services such as getting temporary liquor license for hosting functions or parties, license to trade, sale and other manufacturing of liquor or its raw materials.
• Earlier, applicants needed to go to the excise office to submit documents and pay fees, for getting the drinking permits.