A committee set up earlier by the state government – the RT Jindal Committee – has recommended that there is scope for granting licenses for opening additional Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) retail shops in various districts of Assam, and this has paved the way for nearly 600 new ‘wine shops’.
The Jindal Committee made its recommendation after taking into account factors such as
population growth, rise in the urban population, expansion of industries, creation of newdistricts, increase in inflow of tourists, etc.
On the basis of the Jindal Committee’s recommendation, the state’s Excise Department
sought inputs from various district administrations regarding the number of new IMFL
retail shops that may be opened in their respective districts. The reports concerned have
identified around 600 new localities for opening new IMFL retail shops across Assam.
The state government has not yet taken a final decision regarding the exact number and
location of the proposed new liquor shops, but official sources here said that the process
Meanwhile, various organizations have already voiced opposition to the move to increase
the number of IMFL retail shops in the state.
Despite the voices of dissent, however, the sources said that the state government will go
ahead with opening new IMFL retail shops because excise duty on liquor forms an
important part of Assam’s annual revenue sources.
In financial year (FY) 2021-22, excise duty formed the second-largest source of annual
revenue for the state government with Rs 1,939 crore. The state government is now
targeting to increase the excise revenue to around Rs 3,000 crore, the sources said.
There are 1,063 licensed bars (‘on shops’) in the state at present. In addition, there are 133 licensed wholesalers of country and foreign liquor. Between June, 2016 and November 2022, a total of 353 licenses were granted for retail sale of country liquor, along with 390 bar licenses.
However, in the wake of objections by the public the state government recently converted
around 389 bar licenses in rural areas to IMFL retail sale licenses