The Uttarakhand Cabinet has approved a new excise policy under which ₹3 each per liquor bottle will be charged as cess for cow protection, sports, and women’s welfare. Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami chaired a Cabinet meeting where the cess was approved on Monday evening.
In the cabinet meeting, CM gave nod to a proposal of the excise department which recommends liquor to be made cheaper in the state and the implementation of a Rs three cess on each bottle – Re one each for cow protection, women welfare and youth welfare. The excise revenue target, which was Rs 3,600 crore for 2022-23, has been increased to Rs 4,000 crore for the next fiscal.
Chief secretary SS Sandhu told mediapersons that the uniformity in rates would prevent black marketing of liquor and its smuggling from the nearby states.
He said the difference between the prices of liquor in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand has been reduced from ₹150-200 to ₹20 to prevent the smuggling of alcohol from the neighbouring state. They added the state government has set a revenue target of ₹4000 crores for 2023-24.
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To check adulteration, a quarter of country made liquor would be sold in tetra packs not glass bottles. Sandhu further added that a number of changes have been made in the excise policy for the next financial year to increase revenue and check any illegal practice.
The licence for departmental stores keeping liquor in the hills has been fixed at Rs eight lakh and in the plains, the licence fee has been raised from Rs eight lakh to Rs 15 lakh.
No changes have been made in the fee/tax taken from bar- restaurants. Those allotted liquor shops in the ongoing financial year can continue to operate in the next fiscal (2023-24) by giving an additional 10% licence fee for foreign liquor vends and 15% licence fee for country made liquor shops.
The prices of sea-imported liquor have also been controlled in the new policy. Besides, departmental stores in the state will now be able to buy liquor only from liquor vends located in their districts.
This will put a check on the arbitrariness of departmental stores. A provision has been made to waive off the revenue of shops which remain closed during natural calamity or picketing, based on the report of the district magistrate concerned.
In another significant decision, the cabinet has made the process of map approval for houses simple. According to the cabinet’s decision, if anyone wants to build a single house in the approved layout area, he/she will submit the map of the house to the development authority on the basis of self- certification. In case no objection is raised on the map in seven days, the map will be considered passed and they will be able to start building the house.