Liquor prices in city set to rise by 35-400 per cent

From May 1, liquor prices in the city are set to go northwards, with the UT administration effecting a steep hike in excise duty besides an increase in the licence fee and assessment fee on various brands of liquor.

The hike in the excise duty, as per the excise policy for the year 2013-14 announced on Sunday, is going to affect the high-end liquor brand aficionados. The hike is as steep as almost 400 per cent on ultra-deluxe brands of Scotch, whisky such as Black Dog, Antiquity, 100 Pipers as compared to last year. Also, the with the hike in excise duty on beer being almost double, the prices of beer are also set to be increased by Rs 15-25 per bottle. Overall, the percentage hike in retail sale of liquor will be between 10 and 30 per cent on different brands of liquor.

With the enhancement, the prices will be on a par with those in Punjab. However, those buying liquor in Haryana will get it at the cheapest rates compared to the city and Punjab.

When contacted, Excise Commissioner Mohammad Shayin said, "We have enhanced the excise, keeping in mind the excise duties in the neighbouring states. We cannot have huge disparities in prices of liquor as compared to the neighbouring states."

With the removal of a dozen liquor vends on the roadside after the apex court decided against the same, the revenue projection for the next fiscal through liquor sales is likely to be adversely hit. As of now, these vends, strategically located on the entry points of the city, were fetching the maximum revenue for the department. Now these licences will be given to those who have an SCF/SCO.

The hike in the excise duty ranges from 35 to 400 per cent across different types of liquor. The maximum hike in excise duty is on the ultra-deluxe brand which is almost 400 per cent of last year's price.

The only relief for the licensees is that the condition that only bottlers/distilleries which are within a distance of 200 km will be allowed to supply country liquor has been done away with to encourage more competition and availability.

The minimum retail sale rate has also been enhanced by 10 to 30 per cent across different brands, with minimum retail sale rates of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) to be enhanced by 10% to 25% and of beer to be enhanced by 16% to 30%.

The excise duty on wines, champagnes, cider and liquor will be enhanced to Rs 18 per BL (bulk litre) whereas the additional licence on imported foreign liquor (IFL) will be enhanced to Rs 247 per PL (proof litre which is for a case of 12 bottles).

Also, the licence fee of wholesale licenses of IMFL, imported foreign liquor, beer and wines will be enhanced by approximately 12% to 20%.

Another factor that would lead to an increase in prices of liquor is the minimum reserve price for retail sale of foreign liquor or retail sale of country liquor licence proposed to be fixed/kept equivalent to the licence fee of that particular licence for the last year, i.e. excise year 2012-13.

The maximum number of vends in retail sale is kept unchanged with IMFL and country liquor being kept at 152 and 65 respectively. Even the quota of IMFL and country liquor is being kept at the same level of last year, i.e. 2 crore PL and 27 lakh PL respectively.

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