To bring uniformity with Panchkula and Mohali, the timings for the retail sale of liquor in the city have been extended by an hour till midnight, instead of 11 pm.
The UT Administration has approved the new Excise Policy for 2023-24 last week.
According to the policy, excise duties on all types of liquor have been kept the same as the present policy.
The exact rates would be determined after the allotment of liquor vends, said a contractor, adding that there might be a slight increase in the rates of selected categories of liquor.
The quota of India made foreign liquor (IMFL), country liquor (CL) and imported foreign liquor (IFL) has been kept unchanged. Quarterly quota lifting quantities have been eased based on suggestions by stakeholders.
Ease of doing business
For a healthy competition in the market and to promote ease of doing business, the entire basic quota of country liquor has been kept open and to be supplied to the retailers as per their choice of bottling plant and brand.
To encourage new entrants in the IFL segment, the condition that brand owning company can issue a authorisation letter to a maximum of five persons/licensees has been dispensed with. Now, the brand owning companies can issue authorisation letters to any number of licensees. Also, the condition of having a custom-bonded warehouse only in Chandigarh has been removed and now, such warehouses can be located anywhere in the country.
To facilitate the stakeholders and to minimise the time in approval of label/ brand registration, an online facility of label registration has been introduced and the same will now be approved by the Collector (Excise). A simplified procedure for renewal of registrations of already registered brands/labels has been incorporated in the online portal.
The allotment of retail vends of liquor will be made through the e-tendering system for more transparency. However, the EMD (earnest money deposit) has been reduced to half for a better participation in bids.
To promote the ease of doing business, new bar licensees (L-3/L-4/L-5) will be required only 50% of the annual licence fee in case the licence is granted after September 30.
The provision for additional two hours for bar operations up to 3 am have been kept in the new policy as well. In the present policy, the bars and restaurants have to avail themselves of the two-hour extension by paying extra fee.
Cow cess reduced, clean air cess to be levied
For this year, cow cess has been reduced from the existing Rs 5 to Rs 1 per bottle of 750 ml of country liquor, from Rs 5 to Rs 1 per bottle of 650ml of beer and from Rs 10 to Rs 2 per bottle of 750 ml/700ml of whisky. However, to promote electric vehicles, the administration will levy clean air cess as and when notified by the Department of Science and Technology, UT Administration.
No levy hike for low alcoholic drinks
To promote low alcoholic drinks, licence fees and duties have not been increased on beer, wine, RTD (Ready to Drink), etc. There has been a marginal increase in the minimum retail sale price of the beer (Rs 10). For other categories of liquor, even the MRSP has been kept unchanged. The rates of beer are likely to be increased.
No leasing out of bottling Plants
The leasing out of bottling plants will not be allowed from this policy year. However, hours of operations of the plants for dispatches have been increased to 9 am-6 pm.
Track-&-trace to curb illegal sale
A track-and-trace system will be introduced during this policy year to curb the illegal sale of liquor.
Penalty kept stringent
Penalty for non-maintenance of minimum rates by retail vends has been kept stringent with the closure of a retail vend for three days for each detected violation.