This bit of news won’t keep your spirits high

  • Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Feb 14, 2015 13:10 IST

Tipplers get ready to shell out quite a few extra bucks soon for each peg that goes down your throats. There is a major hike in excise duty on the way in the 2015 state Budget.

The government is also considering banning sales of one-litre bottles to increase excise duty collection. The sale of two-litre liquor ones was banned earlier.

“This means that liquor will be sold in 180ml, 375ml and 750ml bottles only,” an excise department official said.

Finance department sources engaged in Budget-making said the government might project an excise duty collection target of about

Rs. 4,400 crore for 2015-’16, up from the Budget estimate of Rs. 3,810.41 crore in 2014-’15. “This means that, on an average, there may be a 16% hike in liquor prices in the retail market,” a senior finance department official said.

He added that, according to the initial plans, the excise rate hike might be applicable to both India-made foreign liquor (IMFL) and country liquor.

Meanwhile, finance department sources said that, this time, it was likely to set a humble revenue growth target, considering that the state is likely to face a whopping Rs. 10,000crore deficit in revenue collection in the current financial year.

For 2014-’15, Mitra had set a revenue collection target of Rs. 45,413.96 crore, but, until end-January 2015, the collection had barely crossed Rs. 34,000 crore. The shortfall has essentially been caused because of a decline in the collection of sales tax and surcharge on petroleum products and entry tax, besides stamp duty and registration fees.

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