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Punjab: Liquor prices likely to fall by 30-40%; Cabinet nods New Excise Policy 2022-23

File Photo: PTI

In another decision, the Cabinet also gave its nod to allot two special battalions of police to the excise department, in addition to the existing force, for keeping an effective vigil over the excise duty pilferage. This will help in keeping a better check over the supply of illicit liquor in the state from neighbouring states, said the spokesperson. The new excise policy aims to break the nexus of mafia involved in liquor trade, said the spokesperson.

Prices of liquor in Punjab are expected to drop by atleast 30-40% to be on par with the rates in Union Territory Chandigarh and Haryana, with the state Cabinet of the AAP-led government approving its first excise policy on Wednesday.

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Chief minister Bhagwant Mann-led government set a target of collecting Rs 9,647.85 crore, 40% up from the revenue mobilised from the liquor business last year.

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The new excise policy for the year 2022-23 was approved in the state Cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister here.

A spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said the policy strives to keep a stringent
check over smuggling of liquor from the neighbouring states through extensive enforcement and by incorporating new technological measures. Meanwhile, BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa accused the AAP government of replicating the Delhi excise model to benefit a few.

“@Aam AadmiParty is abusing Punjab state machinery & replicating Delhi model of excise in Punjab to benefit a selected few,” said Sirsa in a tweet.

The excise policy shall be applicable for a period for nine months from July 1, this year till March 31, 2023.

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In another decision, the Cabinet also gave its nod to allot two special battalions of police to the excise department, in addition to the existing force, for keeping an effective vigil over the excise duty pilferage.

This will help in keeping a better check over the supply of illicit liquor in the state from neighbouring states, said the spokesperson.

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KEY FEATURES
  • Distillers, liquor distributors and retailers have been delinked. Earlier, they were themselves involved in the liquor retail business
  • In case of country-made liquor, each distiller will appoint one distributor. Similarly, all other manufacturers will have one distributor, who will then supply liquor to all retailers
  • The government has also lifted the ban on opening of new distilleries in the state
  • The size of the groups (licensing units) is being brought down to 177 from 750 last year

The new excise policy aims to break the nexus of mafia involved in liquor trade, said the spokesperson. The manufacturer, wholesaler and the retailer shall be at an arm’s
length distance with each other. They shall be completely isolated from each other with no common stakeholder between them, said the spokesperson.

Liquor smuggling from Chandigarh and neighbouring Haryana has been a major challenge for the state. The prices of liquor, including those of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and beer on an average are 30 to 40 per cent higher in Punjab compared to the prices in Chandigarh and Haryana.

The prices of liquor shall now be almost on par with the neighbouring states, said the spokesperson. According to the new excise police, no quota has been fixed for lifting IMFL and beer by the retail licensees. However, the quota for the Punjab Medium Liquor (PML) remained what it was last year, said an official of the excise department.

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The new excise policy stipulates to tap the actual potential of liquor trade by allotting 177 groups through a free, fair and transparent manner of e-tendering. Earlier, liquor vends were allotted on the basis of draw of lots.

The general size of the group shall be around Rs 30 crore and there shall be 6,378 vends in the state, said the spokesperson. The excise duty on all kinds of liquor except PML shall be charged at the rate of one per cent of the wholesale price.

On the same pattern, the assessed fee shall also be charged at the rate of one per cent of the wholesale price, said the spokesperson. To encourage capital investment and to increase the employment capability in the state, a provision for new distillery licence and
brewery licence has been made in the policy.

Further, a new licence for the production of malt spirit has been introduced in the state. This has been done to encourage crop diversification and provide better remuneration to the farmers, said the spokesperson.

Download Punjab Excise Policy 2022-23

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