The old excise regime, which allows only state corporations to retail liquor in the capital, is likely to be extended, government sources said on Monday.
According to officials, the three-member committee tasked with the responsibility to formulate a new policy hasn’t submitted its report yet. With the finalisation of the report
and its approval by the government likely to take some more time, sources said the excise department would have no choice but to extend the current excise policy.
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Nine months — the original six months plus the fresh extension of three months — should be enough for any committee to create a newliquor policy. One hopes that no further extension is needed.
The old regime, which was prevalent before November 17, 2021 and was replaced with a more-contemporary policy in 2021-22, was brought into force from September 1, 2022 for
six months after the new policy ran into rough weather and the government and senior department officers faced allegations of irregularities and corruption. The 2021-22
policy, which earlier got two extensions, was withdrawn on August 31, 2021.
Scrapping the policy, the excise department stated that given the fact that the new policy couldn’t achieve the objective of fetching greater revenues and that it had been flagged with many a issues being probed by agencies, Delhi government had decided to revert to the old policy prevalent till November 16, 2021. The six-month period will expire on February 28 and there is not enough time left for various steps needed to finalise the procedure, including approval by the lieutenant governor, said an official.
“We are still working on the formulation of a new policy. It is a long process,” a senior official confirmed. Before placing the new draft before the deputy chief minister, the excise
department will hold a meeting of all stakeholders, said another official.
“The department will soon ask the corporations, wholesalers as well as hotels, clubs and bars to apply for the renewal of licences,” the official added. There are about 570 liquor stores and over 960 hotels, bars and clubs in Delhi.
While the government implemented the old policy for six months, it gave a month’s time to the committee, headed by principal secretary (finance) Ashish Chand Verma, to prepare
the new one. The committee last year sought an extension