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2 month excise fee waiver for bars, clubs that were shut during lockdown 2021

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a lockdown in the NCT of Delhi and as per orders issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), all the bars in restaurants, hotels and clubs were closed with effect from April 16 to June 20.
By Abhishek Dey, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 02, 2021 03:40 AM IST
Restaurants, hotels and clubs which have bars have to pay in advance the excise license fees each quarter.

The Delhi government has issued an order for a two-month waiver of the excise license fee for bars in restaurants, hotels and clubs which were closed because of the lockdown that was imposed in the city in April in the light of an unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases that left the health infrastructure overwhelmed.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a lockdown in the NCT of Delhi and as per orders issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), all the bars in restaurants, hotels and clubs were closed w.e.f (from) April 16 to June 20,” said an order issued by the excise department of the Delhi government on Wednesday.

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The order, a copy of which HT has seen, further said, “Considering the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown on hotels and restaurants in Delhi, the competent authority (excise department), in view of the provisions of Rule 49 of the Delhi Excise Rules, has decided that the lockdown period (i.e 16.04.2021 to 20.06.2021) may be treated as deemed cancellation of licenses and accordingly the license fees paid by the licensees for the first quarter of 2021-22 (April 1 to June 30) may accordingly be adjusted towards license fees of the second quarter (July 1 to September 30).”

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Last month, the excise department directed the licensees to pay the fee for extension of their licence from July 1 to September 30.

“For license holders who have paid full fees for the second quarter, the amount will be adjusted in the subsequent quarter (third),” said a senior official in the excise department.

Restaurants, hotels and clubs which have bars have to pay in advance the excise license fees each quarter. The fees, under the current system, has a complicated structure which depends largely on slabs set on the basis of seating capacity. Delhi has around 840 restaurants, hotels and clubs which have licenses for a bar.

In its Wednesday’s order, the excise department also extended the last date of payment of the licence fee for the second quarter from June 30 to July 31. The order will benefit licence holders of L-15/L-15 F, L-16/L-16F, L-17/L-17F, L-18/L-18F, L-19/L-19F, L-20/L-20F, L-28/L-28F, L-29/L-29, the order said.

The department further directed them to pay the remaining amount of the licence fee of the second quarter (after adjustment) by July 31, failing which they will be charged double the quarterly fee.

The move is expected to bring relief to hotels, restaurants and clubs which have faced losses in the light of the lockdown.

“It is a welcome move. However, the government should have issued this order at least a few days ago because a large number of licensees have already paid full fees for the third quarter. We understand that the amount will be adjusted but in such times, any amount of locked working capital adversely affects business. We also hope that the government implements more measures aimed at boosting business of restaurants in the coming days,” said Manpreet Singh, treasurer of the National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI).

Liquor traders move HC

The Delhi Liquor Traders’ Association on Thursday moved the Delhi high court against the city administration’s move to float tenders to appoint new liquor retailers.

Naresh Goyal, the president of the association, said, “Our main objection is that the Delhi government floated tenders to appoint new retailers without releasing the final approved version of the Delhi Excise Policy, 2021. The document has still not been made public. Only the Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021, has been made public through a notification which was issued on May 3. But the details of Delhi’s new excise system is only in the policy document which has not been shared with the public or the stakeholders.”

Goyal said the court will hear the matter on Friday.

HT on Tuesday reported that the Delhi government has floated tenders for new liquor retail licensees, paving the way for a range of sweeping reforms to boost the city’s revenue, crack down on the liquor mafia, and improve customer experience. The new policy also reduces the legal drinking age from 25 to 21, although this can be implemented only after it is passed in the Delhi assembly.

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