Saturday 10 December 2022
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EconomyHow Delhi revenue is faring 5 days into re-implementation of old liquor...

How Delhi revenue is faring 5 days into re-implementation of old liquor policy

After a panicked AAP government withdrew its excise policy in the face of central agencies' (the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate) investigation into alleged favouritism to benefit cronies, 6 September was the fifth day of the old rule's resumption. So far, Delhi has collected revenue of Rs 269 crore under the resumed old policy.

This revenue has come in combination with excise duty, licence fee and liquor sales. In Delhi, four government departments have been given licences for 500 shops for the sale of liquor.

Till now, 387 liquor shops have been opened in Delhi. According to officials of the excise department, all liquor shops will open in the next few days, complying with the old rules and regulations. These will include six premium shops, which are open inside a shopping mall.

According to the excise department, the process of opening liquor shops and registration of different brands of liquor is going on in Delhi. The Delhi Government undertakings — Delhi Tourism And Transportation Development Corporation Limited (DTTDC), Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC), Department of Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (DSCSC), and Delhi Consumer's Cooperative Wholesale Store Ltd (DCCWS) — have been given a target to open 700 liquor shops in the city by end of this year. The liquor licences that have been given for shops in Delhi will be valid till January 2023.

In addition, the bar licences of 926 hotels, clubs and restaurants have been renewed. This licence is valid till February 2023.

The Delhi government says that 33 teams have been formed to ensure no black marketing of liquor happens in the city.

 According to the excise department, 72 wholesale suppliers have registered 600 brands for the supply of liquor in Delhi, out of which 430 brands (195 Indian and 235 foreign) with 60 wholesale suppliers have been licensed. In order to make all types of brands available in Delhi, more than 1,000 brands will be brought to the Delhi market in the coming days.

The excise department claims that at present there is no shortage of liquor in Delhi. There is enough alcohol available to last more than 12 days. The department said that an m-Abkari mobile app has been launched for the convenience of consumers, in which it will be effective for the supplier, seller and buyer.

Premium wine, beer shops to open in association with Delhi Metro

Microbreweries, draft beer, wine and beer shops will be encouraged in Delhi henceforth. So far, one microbrewery has been approved while four applications are in progress.

Two applications of draft beer have been received. Premium shops of beer and wine will be opened in Delhi too, for which an has been signed with Delhi Metro to open 5 premier wine and beer shops.

Old & new liquor policy in Delhi

In November 2021, the Delhi government rolled out a new excise policy. The new policy effectively took the government out of the liquor retailing business and handed it over to private players. But within a few months, it came under CBI scrutiny following allegations of favoritism and corruption. The Delhi government withdrew the policy and announced that from 1 September, the state would revert to the old regime for a period of six months until a fresh policy is in place.

AAP's claim, BJP's allegation

In August, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia had claimed, 'Excise policy due to which whole controversy is created is the country's best policy. The AAP govt has been applying it with transparency and sincerity. The Delhi govt would have been getting at least Rs 10,000 crore every year if Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena would have given a second thought and not changed his decision conspiring to fail the policy."

On 4 September, however, Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta alleged that a fall in excise revenue despite two-fold increase in liquor sales was a big proof of corruption in the implementation of the policy. He claimed that the Delhi government lost crores of rupees in revenue while the liquor mafia made crores of profit when the contentious excise policy was in force.

"The Delhi government suffered a loss of more than Rs 3,000 crore due to the change in policy, while the money received from the liquor mafia was spent in the Punjab elections," Gupta alleged, adding that chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia also got a big of money.

At the rate that Delhi has been earning revenue for the past 5 days suggests that the old, re-implemented policy was always better for the local government.

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