Bacchus lovers cheer as IMFL prices to be slashed by 20% in Punjab under Excise Policy 2024-25 - Hindustan Times

Bacchus lovers cheer as IMFL prices to be slashed by 20% in Punjab under Excise Policy 2024-25

By, Chandigarh
Mar 10, 2024 08:34 AM IST

Punjab government is looking to increase the check on smuggling of cheaper alternatives from other states in the Excise Policy 2024-25

Looking to increase the check on smuggling of cheaper alternatives from other states, Punjab in the Excise Policy 2024-25 has brought down the price of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) by 20%. The price for country-made liquor will remain the same.

Punjab unveiled its Excise Policy 2024-25. (HT File)
Punjab unveiled its Excise Policy 2024-25. (HT File)

The state unveiled the new excise policy, which sets the revenue ambitious target of 10,145 crore. This marks the first occasion that the target has been set above the 10,000-crore mark.

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According to the information, the price cut comes after a discreet department survey that found IMFL was the go-to choice of the middle class. Many, however, chose to buy the alcohol from Chandigarh and other nearby states offering cheaper prices. The survey found that the price will end the practice and boost sales.

State excise and taxation commissioner Varun Roojam said, “The department has come up with a policy to increase revenue while also providing some dip in prices of high-cost IMFL. The prices of Black label, Gold Label and other imported liquors will come down by 20%. This has been done to check smuggling from Chandigarh and adjoining states, where prices of IMFL is less than Punjab.”

The prices of imported foreign liquor (IFL) will come down in the year 2024-25 amid a rationalisation of the fee structure.

“In order to maintain stability of liquor trade and to continue the reforms initiated last year, the policy aims to collect 10,145.95 crore during the year 2024-25, a big increase of 621.95 crore. For the first time, the department plans to touch five figures in excise revenue,” Roojam said.

Looks to bring in more players

To increase competition, the department vows to bring in more players, which could not enter into trade after 2022. There is no auto renewal, but the vends will be allotted fresh to increase competition and garner around 100 crore from the draw of lots.

“In order to balance the existing retail trade and to provide opportunity to ensure better and widespread participation, fresh allotment of L-2/L-14A vends will be done through draw of lots,” the policy read.

The group size for the year 2024-25 has also been decreased from 45 and to 35 crore and initial deposit has been decreased to a tune of 15% to attract more takers.

While prices are set to decrease, in order to mobilise additional revenue and to ensure enough availability of country-liquor, the quota of country liquor for 2024-25 has been increased by 3%.

Counterfeit liquor under the scanner

To keep counterfeit liquor in check, a mechanism for disposal of used liquor bottles at marriage palaces has been added to the excise policy, under which used liquor bottles will be destroyed in the presence of excise inspectors.

The high prices of IMFL had also paved foe more counterfeit liquor making it to the market and the price cut is set to help balance it.

Looking to do away with the drunk driving, the policy mandates bar licensees to provide for alcometer to consumers for voluntary assessment of alcohol level at the premises of the hotels/restaurants serving alcohol and a signage displaying the slogan thereof “Be Safe, Don’t Drink and drive”.

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    Vishal Rambani is an assistant editor covering Punjab. A journalist with over a decade of experience, he writes on politics, crime, power sector, environment and socio-economic issues. He has several investigative stories to his credit.

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