Gurugram: Under the new excise policy introduced on Friday, applications for obtaining and renewing liquor licenses can be made online, beginning June. The online process will eliminate corruption, the involvement of middlemen, and harassment of traders.
The decision also aims at improving delivery of various department regulatory functions and services in an effective and transparent manner to ensure 100% compliance with the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) of Ease of Doing Business (EoDB).
Applicants will also be able to pay the required fee online, track their application status, and eventually download the final certificate.
According to VK Beniwal, deputy commissioner of excise and taxation (DETC), Gurugram (east), earlier applications for liquor licenses involved getting no objection certificates (NOCs) from different authorities such as the police, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG), the fire department, and district administration. With the new policy, applicants will not have to seek such NOCs separately, except from the fire department. After the application is submitted online, if any of the said authorities fail to respond within 30 days, the license will be deemed granted.
“The power of granting licenses has come to the district level and a DETC can take calls for the same unlike earlier where a file had to be submitted to the head office in Panchkula,” he said.
Beniwal further said that to provide hassle-free services to stakeholders, more powers have been delegated to DETCs in the districts. Apart from sanctioning renewal of existing bar licences, they will also be able to provide sanctions for additions to a licensed establishment, e.g., an additional rooftop, floor, al fresco area etc.
Rahul Singh, trustee, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), said that the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) index is a ranking system established by the World Bank Group. It advocates simpler regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights. “The restaurant business is unique. It’s not only Make in India, but also Serve in India. When foreign travellers visit, they need to be offered the best experience. Apart from providing global visibility, the restaurant industry also creates massive and diverse employment opportunities,” he said.
Rohit Mann, director, Raise the Bar brewery at Clarens Hotel in Sector 29, informed that the excise department is also making it mandatory to introduce Point of Sale (POS) machines at all liquor vendors and bar licensees. “This will provide transparency to consumers and eradicate illegal practices which were incurring losses to the state’s exchequer. It will also provide a level playing field for legitimate and compliant entrepreneurs,” Mann opined.
Lalit Ahlawat, director, Soi7 Pub and Brewery, DLF Cyber City welcomed the new policy, stating that it fulfils long pending demands of the industry.
“This progressive move will boost industry prospects and increase revenues for the government. After the pandemic, market and customer expectations have changed a lot. The new policy will help us in providing the best experience to our customers and improve business,” he said.
Excise officials are also hopeful that the number of licences will go up this year with the reduction of fees under the new policy.