Punjab govt eyes liquor business to ramp up revenue
Excise department has been asked to check on the feasibility of government intervention in liquor trade, which is completely controlled by private players in the state.punjab Updated: Nov 24, 2017 17:25 IST
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday directed the excise department to explore the possibility of setting up a wholesale liquor corporation for the distribution of liquor, as a step towards ending monopolistic practices in the trade and earning revenue for the state exchequer.
The decision was taken at the first meeting of the cabinet sub-committee on finance, set up to regularly review the cash-strapped state’s fiscal situation. The sub-committee headed by the chief minister has health and family welfare, and research and medical education minister Brahm Mohindra and finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal as members. The sub-committee has been tasked with finding ways of curtailing expenditure and mobilising resources.
Chairing the maiden meeting, Amarinder asked the excise department to check on the feasibility of government intervention in liquor trade, which is completely controlled by private players in the state. He told the department to work out the modalities for developing a corporation for wholesale distribution of liquor.
The department officials earlier made a presentation to the sub-committee explaining the existing value chain in the liquor trade and also highlighting the model followed by other states, including Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Rajasthan, according to the spokesperson.
A move to shift to a multi-year liquor policy from the prevailing one-year policy was also discussed by the sub-committee, which instructed the excise department to submit a detailed proposal.
The CM also sought a proposal on restructuring of the excise and taxation departments to ensure more focused administration of commercial taxes and excise with infusion of greater technology and specialisation.
He asked the departments to come out with innovative ways to generate revenue for the state, which has inherited a debt burden of Rs 2.08 lakh crore from the previous SAD-BJP government.
With a fiscal deficit of Rs 34,000 crore and revenue deficit of Rs 13,000 crore, the Congress government is battling a major fiscal crisis. Besides Brahm Mohindra and Manpreet, chief minister’s media adviser Raveen Thukral, Punjab governance reforms and ethics commission chairman KR Lakhanpal, adviser, financial resources, VK Garg, chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh, additional chief secretary, excise and taxation, MP Singh, principal secretary, finance, Anirudh Tewari and excise and taxation commissioner Vivek Partap Singh were present.
First Published: Nov 24, 2017 17:03 IST