Following a request from representatives of the beer industry for a reduction in excise fees on beer, the Maharashtra state government has taken a significant step. On Thursday, the government announced the formation of a study group tasked with studying the beer industry’s taxation and revenue-related issues and to provide recommendations. The group will have one month to submit its report.

The study group, chaired by the Additional Chief Secretary for the State Excise, has a clear mandate: to explore avenues for increasing the state’s revenue through the beer industry. The group will need to review the current excise duty rates on beer, considering both alcoholic strength and value-based methods. Furthermore, it will assess the impact of previous increases in excise duty on beer on the state’s revenue balance.

In addition to these tasks, the group will also be expected to recommend strategies to boost beer sales and, in turn, help the government generate more revenue. The study group will conduct a fact-finding analysis of beer policies in other states to align with revenue growth.

The decision to establish this study group stems from concerns raised by representatives of the beer industry. They highlighted that the excise duty rate on beer is higher than that of other liquors when evaluated based on alcohol content. They also pointed out that states that have reduced excise duty rates on beer have experienced revenue growth.

The formation of this committee, which will provide recommendations for enhancing the state’s revenue through the beer industry, was approved on Thursday. The group will be led by the Additional Chief Secretary (State Excise) and will comprise other members, including the Commissioner of State Excise, Deputy Secretary (State Excise), a representative of the All India Brewers’ Association, and the Additional Commissioner of State Excise.

Reports indicate that, in the financial year 2022-23, beer witnessed the highest sales growth compared to other categories of liquor in the state. Over 3,239.42 lakh bulk liters (LBL) of beer were sold in Maharashtra during the last fiscal year, a remarkable increase of over 39 percent from the 2,328.31 LBL sold in 2021-22.

According to statistics from the Maharashtra State Excise Department, beer was followed by wine, which saw consumption rise by 22.8 percent, ending at 105.78 LBL in 2022-23, compared to 86.13 LBL in the previous fiscal year.

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