The Punjab excise policy cleared on Friday in the council of ministers will give tipplers in the drug-ravaged state a stronger kick.
It attempts to increase not only the quota of Punjab Medium Liquor (PML) but also the alcoholic strength of this country booze. Designed for the 2015-16 fiscal, it will move the country-liquor quota from 9.5 crore proof litres to 9.8 crore pl, or almost 26-crore bottles, 62 lakh more than the previous year. But increasing the alcoholic strength of the PML from 55% to 75% means that now a single bottle of country liquor will give the tippler a far greater high.
A government spokesman would have us believe that the policy is meant to make quality liquor available at affordable price and “the increased strength is keeping in view the demand from the common consumers”. The quota of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL), known commonly as English liquor, is retained at 4.5-cr pl, or 8.3-crore bottles. The plan is to sell 40-lakh cases of beer in the next year, which accounts for 4.8-crore bottles.
Roughly, it means selling 39-crore liquor bottles to 2.77-cr population, which leaves every man in the state’s 1.11-crore adult male population 35 bottles to guzzle in the next fiscal. The sole aim of the policy appears to be to make more revenue, even if it promotes boozing in the state that is fighting the onslaught of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. firstname.lastname@example.org
Highs and lows
Revenue for the year 2015-16 expected to increase from Rs 4,680 crore to Rs 5,040-crore (by Rs 360-crore).
Number of liquor shops to remain 6,411.
PML quota up from 25.3-cr bottles to 26-cr bottles.
IMFL (Indian-made foreign liquor) and beer quotas unchanged at 8.3-crore bottles and 40-lakh cases (4.8-cr bottles), respectively.
Revenue from beer likely to increase from Rs 125 cr to Rs 170 cr.
PML 75 degree (75% alcohol content) introduced in to provide “better-quality liquor to a large section of consumers.”
Minimum retail sale rates of PML, IMFL and beer unchanged.
Price monitoring cell to be constituted.
Permit fee for serving liquor at marriage palaces unchanged.
Education, sports and culture cess on liquor to fetch Rs 235-cr.