Maharashtra government cuts excise duty on fruit wines to give industry a boost
In a push to the production of fruit and mead (honey) wines in the state, the Maharashtra government has decided to reduce the excise duty to ₹1 per bulk litre (0.756 litre). So far, producers of fruit and mead wine used to be charged 100% excise duty on production cost. The decision was taken by the state excise department on Wednesday.
However, the decision will not apply to the grape wine industry. The state government has already waived off excise duty on wine made of grapes for 10 years, which ends in December 2021. Maharashtra is considered the biggest producer of grape wine in the country.
“The state used to charge 100% excise duty on the production cost of fruit and mead wines, but now we have decided to reduce to ₹1 per bulk litre. The idea is to promote this small market so that it will grow big,” said Chandrashekhar Bawankule, state excise minister.
“There has been a demand from industry players for this push, which the government has now considered. The concept of fruit and mead wines is also not well established in the country,” he said. At present, the state has only four producers of fruit and mead wines. Their total production comes to around 600-800 bulk litres.
Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary, state excise department, said the decision covers all types of fruits except grapes that are already exempted from excise duty. “We want to encourage the agro-processing industry. At present, the production of these types of wines is minimal in the state and we want it to increase,” Singh said.
She said revenue-wise the loss is not much because the production is very low. However, employment wise it is a big decision as it will generate job opportunities, she added.