Under Uttar Pradesh’s new excise policy, liquor sale timings can be extended on special occasions; fee in select categories increased
The Uttar Pradesh cabinet on Saturday cleared the new excise policy for 2023-24 through which the state government is looking to mop up an estimated revenue of ₹45,000 crore.
The liquor lobby was pushing for increasing the current 10-am-to-10-pm sale time till 11pm. Though the timings under the new policy would stay the same, yet it provides for extending the sale time “on special occasions” after prior permission.
The “special occasions” on which liquor sale timings could be extended are yet to be defined.
To increase its revenue, the government has increased the fee for running the canteen facility at model shops to ₹3 lakh from the present ₹2 lakh with a simultaneous 10% increase on the minimum guarantee quota (MGQ) of country made liquor. In simpler terms, MGQ is the amount of stock a country liquor seller is required to compulsorily buy from the government.
In 2022-23, the MGQ for a country liquor seller was 58.32 crore bulk litres. After the latest 10% increase from April (2023-24 period), the country liquor sellers would have to purchase 64.15 crore bulk litres of 36% alcohol-by-volume (ABV) intensity.
“While promoting responsible drinking, it would have been great if the liquor sale timings would have been increased till 11pm. This would have helped the liquor sellers immensely,” said Devesh Jaiswal of the U.P. Liquor Sellers’ Welfare Association.
Licence fee and security has been increased for bonded warehouse licenses (BWFL-2A, 2B, 2C) of foreign liquor, beer, wine. The registration and renewal fees of master warehouse have been increased too.
The licence fee for hotel/restaurant and Club Bar licences has been increased by creating a special category for the authority area of Gautam Budh Nagar, municipal corporation area of Lucknow and Ghaziabad within 5 km in their vicinity, whether urban or rural.
There is no increase in the licence fee for other categories of bar licenses.
It is still not clear if the demand by liquor sellers to increase their profit margins has been met, though many liquor sellers said they were hopeful.