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Liquor at doorsteps in Punjab (DEBATE)

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There is a good news for Bacchus lovers of Punjab! In the excise policy for financial year 2020-21, for the first time it was decided to start an experimental for online sale and delivery of liquor.

Ever wondered the futuristic step came in from the province of Patiala peg, a drink which is three inches in depth irrespective of holder’s girth. The Patiala peg became famous during the days of Maharaja of Patiala Bhupinder Singh grandfather of Punjab Chief Minister Maharaja Amarinder Singh. Indeed an apt way to pay back to the grandfather. 

To begin with, the excise and taxation department will allow online sale of liquor in Mohali city. “Keeping in view the changing market dynamics, we decided to keep a scope in our policy. We will consult with the market players and work out the modalities to make online sale a reality,” said excise and taxation commissioner Vivek Partap Singh, adding that it would also be decided at a later stage as to who would be given license for online delivery.

The futuristic step according to Singh comes with a rider that incase there is an objection by any licensee, it would not be implemented.

The policy for the forthcoming fiscal year is seen as trader friendly, as the existing traders in the field who attain 12% excess revenue over the minimum guaranteed revenue (MGR) in the current financial year will get preference in the coming financial year. The renewable fee in the case of these traders will vary from 1 to 4% of the total business. The new players have to come into the trade through draw lots, expected to take place in February.

As per the policy, the price of each bottle of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and Punjab Made Liquor (PML) is expected to go up by Rs. 2 to 5, due to increase in excise duty. However, the increase of 12% in the MGR will also lead to additional increase in the liquor price.

At wholesale stage, there is no increase in excise duty rates at PML. In the case of IMFL, the increase is approx 5% while the duty has been enhanced from Rs. 62 per bottle to Rs. 68 for strong beer.

A target of Rs. 6,250 crore has been fixed as against anticipated collection of Rs. 5,676 crore for 2019-20. The excise revenue is expected to go up from Rs. 5,150 crore in 2018-19 to Rs. 5,676 crore in 2019-20.

The number of retail vends have been retained at last year’s figure of 5,835 and the number of groups in the liquor trade in Punjab would also remain (756) as they are in the current year. It is to be seen how much boost online sale gives to the business. Is it a good idea to sell liquor online when the state is fighting drug addiction in the state which is so severe that it a major point of political discourse in the state. Speck-up. Dissect it.

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