Monopoly ends as 40,000 apply for liquor vends in Punjab
The Punjab government has decided to slash liquor prices from April 1, when the policy takes effect. The move is seen as an effort to bring rates on a par with those in the state capital, Chandigarh, where in case of some brands the prices were almost half. Chandigarh has decided to increase rates.punjab Updated: Mar 27, 2018 09:33 IST
In what the government claims is a success of its new excise policy, over 40,000 applications were received for 800 groups of liquor vends on Monday. Last year, the number of groups was only 87. By the time of the filing of this report, 760 groups had been finalised, with the draw of lots in progress for the remaining 40 groups. The cost of each group has been fixed at Rs 5 crore against the existing cost of Rs 40 crore.
The Punjab government has decided to slash liquor prices from April 1, when the policy takes effect. The move is seen as an effort to bring rates on a par with those in the state capital, Chandigarh, where in case of some brands the prices were almost half. Chandigarh has decided to increase rates.
Top officials in the excise and taxation department said they had managed to break the monopoly that existed in the trade.
“We have disposed off at least 98% of the business, and the rest will be done by late tonight (Monday),” said additional excise and taxation commissioner Gurtej Singh.
Govt to pocket Rs 200 cr on day 1
On the first day, the department hopes to pocket Rs 200 crore (application money Rs 80 crore, and Rs 120 crore licence fee). When the first phase of the fixed licence fee collection concludes — by the end of this week — the department would raise Rs 510 crore.
“Even if the monopolists, who have been active in business for years have taken vends, it’s a good policy. When we proposed the policy, the monopolists were critical. Our stand is vindicated as they have taken part in the business model we proposed,” Gurtej added.
The new rates
Under the new policy, the price of country-made liquor will fall from Rs 250 per bottle to Rs 210. In case of medium level brand of Indian-made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), the price has been reduced from Rs 650 to Rs 550. The price of beer will also fall by Rs 40 per bottle. The government has set a target of revenue generation of Rs 5,800 crore from liquor sale, over last year’s Rs 5,200 crore.
The sale targets for 2018-19 are IMFL (Rs 21.6 crore), Punjab-made liquor (Rs 7.2 crore) and beer (Rs 4.8 crore). There is a proposal to fix quota of 1.8 crore cases for PML, 60 lakh for IMFL (60 lakh) and 40 lakh for beer. In a respite to the licensee, he has been allowed to sell 70% of the assigned quota in case of country-made liquor and 65% of the IMFL.To cover up the gap emerging from the flexible quota, the government decided to increase excise duty by 12%.
Ex-SAD MLA’s firms bag 35 of 36 zones in Bathinda
Bathinda Firms owned or related to former SAD MLA Deep Malhotra bagged liquor trade of 35 out of 36 zones in Bathinda district. The government will earn a revenue of Rs 191 crore. There will be 345 vends of countrymade liquor and 107 vends of countrymade foreign liquor in the district. The number of applications received were 3,474.
Rs84 crore in govt kitty in Barnala
Barnala The government auctioned contracts for 164 country-made liquor and 103 India-made foreign liquor vends in the district at Rs 84 crore, an increase of 10% over last year’s around Rs 77 crore, on Monday. Assistant excise and taxation commissioner Rajiv Kumar Garg said 453 applications were received for the allotment of 267 liquor vends.