The Bacchus is backing the state excise department in its bid to regain lost revenue. The ban on liquor sales in Rajasthan during the 41-day long lockdown caused huge losses to the exchequer.
The Gehlot government imposed a surcharge of up to Rs 30 to mop up revenue and cover the losses during the no-sale period. Hence, liquor has now become costlier in Rajasthan.
The surcharge on Indian-made Foreign Liquor was Rs 5 for 180 ml and 375 ml bottles for breezers, miniature and other packaging, while it was Rs 10 on 750 ml bottles.
For beer, Rs20 surcharge was imposed for 650 ml and 500 ml bottles besides Rs 30 on BIO (bottled in origin). A surcharge of Rs 1.5 per bottle was also imposed on country liquor and Rajasthan Made Liquor (RML).
In April, the state had increased excise duty on liquor by 10%. The tipplers also helped the state by increasing consumption despite the rise in prices. After unlock, the state excise department earned Rs 810 crore revenue in August alone.
The excise department has a target of Rs12,500 crore as revenue. The sale of liquor was banned in April and May. But thanks to the Bacchus the state excise department covered a lot of its losses.
Since April when the new financial year began, the earnings from liquor for the excise department was Rs3,301 crore. As of now, it seems difficult for the department to achieve its target of Rs12,500 crore. This is because crores of rupees of cheaper liquor from Haryana is flooding Rajasthan.
In the year 2019-20, the excise department earned revenue of Rs9,600 crore against a target of Rs11,000 crore. The lockdown has brought an estimated loss of Rs1,000 crore for the department and it is trying to recoup the same.
The surcharge on liquor will add only Rs300 crore in revenue. The poor arrival of tourists has resulted in liquor consumption in hotels and bars going down. Some hotels and bars even closed down their business after the government imposed a curfew time of 9 pm on them. This has impacted the overall business.
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The department is trying to stop the smuggling of alcohol from Haryana but the revenue deficit will continue as shops will remain closed in October this year due to civic elections.
The liquor dealers feel that another hike in prices and imposition of an additional surcharge is in the offing after the civic poll in October.
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