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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

New excise policy makes licensing stricter, but relaxes dry day rules in Delhi

The rule is part of Delhi’s excise policy for 2019-20 which was approved by the cabinet chaired by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday

delhi Updated: Jul 31, 2019 05:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Liquor Shop at Defence Colony Flyover Market, in New Delhi
Liquor Shop at Defence Colony Flyover Market, in New Delhi(Tribhuwan Sharma/ Hindustan Times)

Tightening the laws governing the sale and serving of liquor at restaurants that only have temporary licences procured from liquor shops, the Delhi government Tuesday said such restaurants will now have to take permits directly from the deputy commissioner.

The rule is part of Delhi’s excise policy for 2019-20 which was approved by the cabinet chaired by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday.

Delhi government officials said under the 2019-20 policy, it will now be difficult for a section of hotels and restaurants to get temporary liquor permits. Besides that, the policy has also relaxed the exemption list of places serving liquor on dry days to include outlets that serve only wine and beer.

Tougher temporary licence

“At present, many restaurants, pubs and hotels organise parties in which they serve and sell liquor using a P-10 licence, which is temporary permit and, hence, cheaper. This results in a loss of revenue to the government as these restaurants don’t go for permanent licences which entail an annual fee. Recently, we busted several such parties, some of them high-profile gatherings, where liquor was sold using a P-10 permit. But, P-10 does not allow anyone to sell liquor,” a senior official from the excise department said.

Currently, obtaining a P-10 licence is easy as they are available at registered liquor vends. But, under the new policy, these permits will be issued only by the deputy commissioner of the excise department. Even those who have P-10 permits will now have to register with the excise department. “So, now inspections will be carried out before granting a P-10 licence. In the inspection, if a restaurant is found big enough to necessitate a permanent licence, then the P-10 won’t be granted,” the official said.

In case any excise violation is found on the premises, the establishment may be barred for at least three months from applying for P-10 permits for a first offence, he said, adding that in case of a repeat violation, the premises would be barred for a period of one year.

Exemptions on dry days

On dry days, excluding Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti, the policy has added two more licence categories that would be allowed to serve alcohol to the existing list of 10 categories. “Licence L-18 (for serving Indian wine, beer and alcohol in independent restaurants) and permit P-10A (permit for service of Indian liquor and /or foreign liquor at a place other than licensed premises in commercial ticketed events/ other commercial ticketed events) will now be allowed to serve the said variants of alcohol on the specified dry days,” a government official said.

Parity in wholesale prices

At present, there is a huge difference in MRP (maximum retail price) of foreign liquor in Delhi as compared to Haryana. This gives rise to instances of liquor smuggling, the government said in a statement.

“Delhi sales are hit by Haryana (Faridabad/Gurugram). To bring about a parity in rates, it is decided that now even importers of liquor will have to submit an affidavit declaring that the wholesale price as submitted for price fixation in Delhi is the lowest anywhere in India (net of all discounts, commissions,
trebate etc. whatsoever),” an official said.

For this, the government has revised the import permit (IP) revalidation fee for Indian liquor.

First Published: Jul 31, 2019 05:23 IST

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