The hike in duty, market experts say, will inflate the prices of popular liquor brands by 10% to 12%. (HT File Photo)
The hike in duty, market experts say, will inflate the prices of popular liquor brands by 10% to 12%. (HT File Photo)

Indian made foreign liquor to get dearer in Chandigarh

New excise policy hikes duty on IMFL by 6%, but prices of beer and wine are likely to remain unchanged
By Munieshwer A Sagar, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 01:20 AM IST

Come April, the Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) is set to cost at least 10% more, while prices of beer and wine are unlikely to increase.

In the excise policy 2021-2022 announced on Wednesday, the UT administration has decided to keep the licence fee and excise duty on beer and wine unchanged, but the duty on IMFL has been increased by 6%.

This, market experts say, will inflate the prices of popular liquor brands by 10% to 12%.

In addition to this, the market price of liquor will also depend on the rate at which liquor vends are auctioned.

Cow cess imposed last year will continue to be charged at 5 per bottle.

With the new policy, the administration expects to rake in a revenue of around 700 crore.

The number of liquor vends has been increased from 94 to 96. To curb the menace of cartelisation and monopolistic practices, a single entity will be entitled to allotment of a maximum of 10 vends.

UT administrator VP Singh Badnore, after a detailed presentation with the UT adviser Manoj Parida, secretary (excise and taxation) and other senior officers of the excise department, approved the new excise policy on Wednesday.

“The new policy is aimed at balancing the aspirations of the consumers, manufacturers, wholesalers/retailers and the government. After the pandemic setback to the industry, we had to restrict the enhancement to the minimum,” said Parida.

Last year, the administration had imposed a 12% increase in the excise duty from 2019. The policy had come into effect from July 1, 2020 after the initial policy announced on March 9, 2020, couldn’t be implemented due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

PERKS FOR HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY

In order to boost the hospitality and tourism industries in Chandigarh, the administration has decided against increasing the licence fee of hotels, bars and restaurants.

It has also allowed mini-bars at 3-Star and 4-Star hotels in addition to 5-Stars or above category of hotels.

Microbrewery licencees can sell draught beer against excise permits to bars, restaurants and clubs by following proper standard safety measures. For this, kegs of up to 50 litres are allowed. Beer shall not be packed in bottles, cans or pouches for sale.

No new bottling plant licence will be granted, which Parida termed “a bold and right step”.

The basic quota of IMFL has been increased from 100 lakh proof litres (PL) to 110 lakh PL, while the quota of countrymade liquor has been increased from 8 lakh PL to 12 lakh PL.

The allotment of licensing units will continue to be made through e-tendering system for transparency, and online system will also be used for issuance of permits and passes.

NEW CATEGORY OF BEER

To promote beverages with low-alcoholic content, a new category of beer – super mild beer, containing alcoholic content up to 3.5% – has been introduced. Most of the widely consumed beers contain 4-6% alcohol.

The policy has made alcometers mandatory at taverns (ahatas). The facility is already mandatory at bars, restaurants and clubs for voluntary assessment of alcohol level. They also have to post a signage at a proper place, clearly mentioning the permissible limits of consumption of alcohol as per relevant laws, and also mentioning thereof “Be Safe-Don’t Drink and Drive”.

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