The Jammu & Kashmir Excise Department’s preparations for the upcoming wine shop license auction under the new Excise Policy for 2024-25 have gained momentum following a significant decision by the Administrative Council (AC).
Chaired by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, the council, including key officials such as Advisor Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Chief Secretary Atal Dulloo, and Principal Secretary to LG Mandeep Kumar Bhandari, approved the implementation of this comprehensive policy. This strategic move aims to refine and enhance the manufacturing, transport, import, and export of liquor, alongside vigorous measures to combat the smuggling of narcotic drugs into the Union Territory from neighboring states and territories.
Under this policy, the auction and allocation of liquor vends will be executed through an e-auction process, with a mandatory registration fee of Rs. 50,000 required from each bidder, payable online. Successful bidders will then have to deposit the entire bid amount via the eGRAS/Easy Collect portal within seven banking days following the bid’s finalization. Any vends that remain unallotted due to various factors such as social pressure, court orders, or lack of premises, as well as those receiving no bids, will be subject to re-auction.
The Jammu & Kashmir Excise Department is witnessing a surge in interest for its upcoming wine shop auction, driven by the recently implemented J&K Excise Policy 2024-25. To address queries and provide clarity, the department held a pre-bid meeting on February 7th, attracting prospective bidders eager to learn more about the process and secure a license.
Policy Highlights Drive Interest:
The new policy boasts several initiatives attracting participation:
- Increased Revenue and Regulation: The policy balances generating revenue through the auction with stricter regulations for the liquor trade, ensuring responsible practices.
- Transparency and Security: The online auction platform hosted by J&K Bank offers a transparent and secure process, minimizing concerns about manipulation.
- Ease of Doing Business: Streamlined procedures and readily available information aim to make participating in the auction more accessible and efficient.
The department conducted prior training sessions on February 5th and 6th to familiarize potential bidders with the policy and auction process. These sessions equipped participants with the knowledge and confidence to navigate the bidding procedure effectively.
A notable innovation in this policy is the linkage of the minimum reserve bid price to the sales potential of each vend, including a lower cap set at 15% of the Minimum Selling Price (MSP) for liquor consumed on premises.
Furthermore, the policy continues the previous year’s approach regarding Excise Duty on CSD/PAMF, which will remain 25% lower than that for civilian liquor across all types, and the import duty will be 15% lower for all liquor brands. Licensees of Beer Bars with Microbrewery Licenses will be eligible for a License within the same premises upon payment of the required license fee and other duties.
The policy mandates complete digitalization of the liquor manufacturing, distribution, and sales process, from production to retail consumption, ensuring a transparent and efficient system.
It also stipulates that vendors must apply for a property/solvency certificate within 10 days of license issuance, with the concerned Revenue Authority required to issue the certificate within one month from the application receipt.
Failure to process the application in time will result in the automatic issuance of the certificate as claimed by the applicant. Additionally, the policy introduces stringent penalties for selling liquor above the Maximum Retail Price (MRP), with fines of Rs 40,000 and Rs 75,000 for the first and second offenses, respectively.