The Haryana Cabinet on Thursday approved the new excise policy for 2021-22 proposing a “marginal increase” in liquor prices, even as it decided to do away with the COVID-19 cess imposed last year. “Marginal increase has been proposed in the minimum retail sale prices of liquor,” the state government said in a statement giving details about the new policy. However, an official said the increase would be about around 10 per cent. The licences of liquor vends country liquor and Indian-made foreign liquor shall be renewed at an increase of 10 per cent over and above the existing ‘base licence fee’.
To encourage blending of ethanol in petrol and proper utilisation of agriculture produce, a new licence category (E-3/E-3A) has been introduced for setting up an ethanol based distillation plant with a nominal fee, as per the statement. In case any vend or vends of any zone are closed or are subsequently closed on account of falling under COVID-19 containment zone, its license fee and quota shall be proportionately waived in proportion of days of closure, as per the new policy, it further said. For the purpose of computation of proportionate licence fee and quota of a closed vend to be waived, the licence fee and quota of a zone shall be equally divided among both vends of the zone.
Export duty on country liquor, IMFL and beer has been reduced, it said. No change has been made in the fee structure of bar licences. PET (plastic) bottles shall not be allowed for bottling of IMFL. The government has decided to discontinue or abolish COVID-19 cess on sale of liquor in next policy (2021-22), which was imposed in 2020-21 for generating additional revenue in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cess was imposed last year on all types of liquor varying from Rs 5 to Rs 20. Haryana, meanwhile, garnered Rs 6,792 crore from excise collection in financial year 2020-21, against Rs 6,361 crore in 2019-20. The overall collection from excise in the financial year 2020-21 is Rs 6,792 crore as against Rs 6,361 crore in financial year 2019-20, the statement said. “Despite complete coronavirus-induced lockdown till first week of May 2020 and overall economic slowdown for major part of the year 2020-21, excise collection during the financial year 2020-21 has witnessed growth of 6.69 per cent,” the statement said.
It said that since the period of allotment of retail vends for 2020-21 will come to an end on May 19, 2021, the growth in excise collection for the policy year 2020-21 is likely to reach 15 per cent. The excise policy for 2021-22 had come into force in mid-May 2020 as it had got delayed after lockdown was imposed. The excise policy for the year 2021-22 has been framed with focus on aspirations of all the stakeholders, the statement said. The new excise policy 2021-22 will come into effect from May 20 and will remain in force till May 19, 2022. The liquor vends shall be allotted for a period of one year. Under the new policy, the sale hours of retail outlets of liquor have been fixed in rural areas from 8 am to 11 pm from April to October and from 8 am to 10 pm from November to March. In case of urban areas, sale hours will be from 8 am to 12 midnight throughout the year.