In the annual excise policy that the Punjab cabinet cleared on Monday, a sale quota of 9.5-crore proof litres (25.33 crore bottles) was fixed for country-made liquor.
The cabinet also fixed a sale quota of 4.5-crore proof litres (8.3 crore bottles) of Indian-made foreign liquor, known commonly as English liquor. A conclusion could be drawn that Punjab would consume 33.63-crore liquor bottles of in the next financial year (April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015).
In the state's population of 2.77 crore (2011 census), it leaves 12.15 liquor bottles a year for each citizen. An official in the excise department calculates that the country-made liquor will cost the retailer Rs 125 to 130 per liquor bottle and be sold after adding profit. The cost of IMFL will vary based on the brand.
The state government expects revenue of `4,671 crore in the next financial year against `3,947 crore in the current year (2013-14). That'll be an increase of `724 crore. Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was in the meeting in which the cabinet cleared the excise policy.
The excise department has also decided to reduce the monopoly in the trade by increasing the number of groups operating the state's liquor business from 245 to almost 500. It hopes that competition will cut down the retail price.
The cabinet has also fixed the price at which liquor will be sold for functions at marriage palaces. These rates will go up on the excise department website. If any consumer is charged higher, the retailer will pay a fine of `1 lakh upon first offence, double upon second, and lose licence upon third.
Govt promotes beer
The Punjab government will promote sale of beer in the financial year 2014-15. The excise policy aims at making people switch to lighter drinks and has fixed a sale quota of 312-lakh bulk litres (40 lakh cases or 4.8 crore bottle) of beer.
By this estimate, the per-capita consumption of beer in the coming financial year will be 1.73 bottles, still below the corresponding figure for country-made liquor and the IMFL.