Come April 1 and bibulous people in Madhya Pradesh with an annual income of Rs 10 lakh or more will be able to stockpile up to 100 liquor bottles at home, under a new excise policy to boost revenue.
The state government has amended the excise policy to allow individuals with annual income of Rs 10 lakh or more to store up to 100 liquor bottles after paying a one-time licence fee of Rs 10,000. The only rider is that each liquor bottle should not cost less than Rs 1,000.
Earlier, the policy allowed individuals to store up to four bottles. The revised policy will come into effect in the 2016-17 fiscal from April 1. State finance minister Jayant Malaiya, who made the announcement in Indore on Thursday, said the new excise policy is aimed at increasing revenue.
In contrast, just a few months ago, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had stated at a public rally that no new wine shops would be allowed to open in the state. Though there has is no proposal to increase the number of wine shops, the new excise policy is expected to push the sale of liquor in the state.
MP’s liquor revenue grew by 16% in 2013-14, but the year-on-year growth fell to 13% in 2014-15.
“We are confident that the new liquor policy will result in more revenue generation. As it is, people store liquor in their homes so why not have a clear policy,” said state excise commissioner Rakesh Shrivastava.
However, local liquor distributors are upset and said the move was likely to protect rich bureaucrats.
“The logic is hard to understand. Essentially, what the state government has done is to allow rich people to open illegal private bars. This move will actually cause loss of revenue for the government,” said city-based liquor distributor Jagjit Singh Bhatia.