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Raje govt imposes 20% cess on liquor, may use it for cow protection

The tipplers in Rajasthan received a rude shock on the weekend with liquor turning costlier overnight after Rajasthan government imposed a 20% cess on all varieties of alcoholic drinks sold in the state

jaipur Updated: Jun 24, 2018 22:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan News
Rajasthan government has imposed a 20% cess on all varieties of alcoholic drinks sold in the state.(File/Reuters)

The tipplers in Rajasthan received a rude shock on the weekend with liquor turning costlier overnight after Rajasthan government imposed a 20% cess on all varieties of alcoholic drinks sold in the state. As per a government notification, the order came into effect Saturday.

“The state government hereby notifies that the surcharge at the rate of 20% shall be levied and collected on the amount of tax or any sum in lieu of tax payable on the sale of foreign liquor, Indian made foreign liquor, country liquor and beer sold by dealers registered under the provisions of the Rajasthan Value Added Tax Act 2003 with effect from June 23, 2018,” the notification issued by the state finance department read.

While the notification does not mention where the surcharge will be spent but officials in the excise department familiar with the matter said the additional revenue generated was likely to be used for conservation and protection of cows.

The move comes amid allegations by the seers and the gau seva samitis in Rajasthan that Centre has slashed by 90 per cent the grants it used to provide to cow shelters from the disaster relief fund. The seers and gau palaks (cow rearers) also organized a protest earlier this month accusing the Vasundhara Raje government of neglecting the cows and not fulfilling the 2012 election manifesto promise of arranging food and shelter for the bovines.

The government recently doubled the surcharge on stamp duty for the protection of cows from the existing 10% to 20%. Rajasthan goes to polls later this year. Cow conservation and protection has remained a focus area for the BJP dispensation that is leaving no stone unturned to ensure a second shot at power.

Raje had in April last year imposed a 10% surcharge on all non-judicial instruments for the conservation and propagation of cows. Thus those making rent agreements, mortgage papers and lease agreement were asked to pay a little extra.

In one year, the government managed to generate around Rs 235 crore in revenue from the cow surcharge levied on stamp duty.

A senior official said the surcharge imposed was inadequate in comparison to grants required for cow shelters. The government had increased grant to registered shelters to six months from three months in the budget but did not increase the tax to meet the requirement.

Rajasthan has 2,562 registered cow shelters and 9.6 lakh bovines for which Rs 490 crore is required as grant for six months, the official said. The government intends to distribute the grant among the cow shelters before the assembly election.

In her budget speech last year, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had proposed surcharge for development of basic infrastructure facilities and protection and propagation of cows.

First Published: Jun 24, 2018 22:07 IST