HIC, HIC, HUR­RAY Govt to in­tro­duce more play­ers in liquor trade to bring in com­pe­ti­tion and con­trol in prices

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Front Page - Gur­preet Singh Nib­ber gur­preet.nib­ber@hin­dus­tan­ ■

This is most lib­eral pol­icy by the state gov­ern­ment where more peo­ple will come into the trade, with min­i­mum guar­an­teed quota. GURTEJ SINGH, ad­di­tional ex­cise and tax­a­tion com­mis­sioner

CHANDIGARH: The Pun­jab gov­ern­ment on Tues­day de­cided to slash prices of liquor from April 1.

As per the state’s new ex­cise pol­icy, the price of coun­try­made liquor will fall from ex­ist­ing Rs 250 per bot­tle to Rs 210. In case of medium level brand of In­dian-made for­eign liquor (IMFL), the price has been re­duced from Rs 650 to Rs 550. The price of beer will also fall by Rs 40 per bot­tle.

De­spite pres­sure from big play­ers, the gov­ern­ment also de­cided to break mo­nop­oly in the liquor trade. It plans smaller and more play­ers to be­ing in com­pe­ti­tion and con­trol in prices.

The move to cut liquor prices in the state is seen as an ef­fort to bring price at par with those in the state cap­i­tal Chandigarh where in case of some brands the prices were al­most half.

Mean­while, of­fi­cials in Chandigarh ad­min­is­tra­tion said they are work­ing on a pol­icy to in­crease prices of liquor. It is ex­pected to be an­nounced shortly.

The ex­cise pol­icy for 2018-19, pro­posed by the ex­cise de­part­ment , was cleared by the state coun­cil of min­is­ters on Tues­day. The gov­ern­ment has set a tar­get of rev­enue gen­er­a­tion of Rs 5,800 crore from the liquor sale, as com­pared to last year’s Rs 5,200 crore.

With two weeks more to go in

the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year, the rev­enue col­lec­tion from the ex­cise has touched Rs 4,800 crore and the state needs Rs 400 crore more to reach the tar­get.


To break the mo­nop­oly, it has been de­cided to di­vide the state into 800 groups against 87 in the ex­ist­ing ar­range­ment of the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year. The cost of each group has been fixed to Rs 5 crore against the ex­ist­ing cost of Rs 40 crore.

The 800 groups will man­age 5,700 vends in the state. The num­ber of vends is 5,900 in the cur­rent year.

The sale tar­gets for 2018-19 are IMFL (Rs 21.6 crore), Pun­jab made liquor (Rs 7.2 crore) and beer (Rs 4.8 crore). There is a pro­posal to fix quota of 1.8 crore cases for PML, 60 lakh for IMFL (60 lakh) and 40 lakh for beer.

An ex­cise of­fi­cial, on the con­di­tion of anonymity, new play­ers will boost the sat­u­rated liquor trade.

For the first time, the gov­ern­ment has de­cided to give respite to the li­censee by al­low­ing him to sell 70% of the as­signed quota in case of coun­try-made liquor and 65% of IMFL.

To cover up the gap emerg­ing from flex­i­ble quota, the gov­ern­ment de­cided to in­crease the ex­cise duty on liquor by 12%.

“This is most lib­eral pol­icy by the state gov­ern­ment where more peo­ple will come into the trade, with min­i­mum guar­an­teed quota,” said ad­di­tional ex­cise and tax­a­tion com­mis­sioner Gurtej Singh. “We plan to check boot­leg­ging and smug­gling this time, which was af­fect­ing the trade. En­force­ment is go­ing to be a ma­jor fo­cus of the de­part­ment,” he added.

Mean­while, the gov­ern­ment’s pro­posal to form a cor­po­ra­tion to sell liquor has been de­ferred, as the ex­cise de­part­ment says it lacks man­power, knowl­edge of the trade and stor­age fa­cil­i­ties. How­ever, the pol­icy has kept a clause that the de­part­ment can en­ter the busi­ness if the need arises.

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