Delhi govt to open 500 liquor stores as old excise duty policy returns

‘Buy-one-get-one free’ schemes are no longer operational in the national capital as almost 250 private liquor vendors were superseded by 300 vendors of the Delhi government following the return of the old excise policy.

Over 500 liquor shops will be opened by the Delhi government undertakings by the end of December. The Delhi government undertakings that can open liquor stores are – 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).

Under the Excise Policy-2021, Delhi government withdrew itself from the liquor sale business and allowed the issuance of L-1 licences for 849 private retail liquor vendors through open bidding across 32 zones in Delhi.

The number of dry days have also been reduced from 21 to 3 days. The Delhi government has also proposed to lower down the drinking age from 25 to 21.

Also Read: What changes can consumers expect in Delhi after change in liquor policy?

According to Delhi government’s data, Rs 1,594.84 crore was collected from the sale of liquor and VAT in the Q1 FY23. However, revenue generated from liquor sale in Delhi has been declining – Rs 6,898.54 crore (FY20) – Rs 5,741.04 crore (FY22). With the new Excise policy implementation, Delhi government estimated a revenue generation of about Rs 9,454 crore from the sale of alcoholic beverages during FY23, an increase of 20 per cent to the revenue generated from liquor sales.

Nita Kapoor, CEO, International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI) told Business Standard, “The alcoholic beverages industry had high expectations that the 2021-22 new excise policy will benefit not only the industry but also the consumers.”

She said that the new excise policy gave more brand choice to the consumers at an affordable price and the walk-in modernised setup gave access to premium products and provided a safe environment for women consumers.”

Moreover, whilst implementing the old excise policy, the government will need to ensure a smooth transition of stocks, availability of national popular brands and a fair, transparent market-based approach for brand availability in corporation outlets, Nita told BS.

Expressing her concerns, Nita said, “With the festival season round the corner, ISWAI urges the government to complete the opening of all the alcoholic beverages outlets in the city as Delhi has the lowest per capita outlet universe and the proposed 500 outlets will not be able to address the needs of Delhi’s population size of 32 million, leading to a loss of revenue to the exchequer as the consumers will shift their festival purchases to the NCR region.”

According to an executive from a liquor company, “In the next few weeks, around 300-350 stores are expected to come up in Delhi and we hope that there will be better availability of alcohol for consumers in Delhi. As the private shops have been closing over the last month, alcohol availability has been affected in the capital. Consumers have been going to Gurgaon and Noida to buy alcohol. Hopefully, the situation and availability will improve.”

Delhi government’s order stated that according to the Delhi Excise rule 52 and 55, all days of religious importance and such other days considered appropriate will be declared as “dry days”, in addition to normal dry days and a licensee is barred from supplying liquor/beer in bottles having marking of some other distillery/breweries. It further stated that a clearance declaration of all the dues and excise revenues is to be disposed of to the Excise Commissioner by 8th day of every month.

A mobile app mAbkaridelhi will be made operational by the Excise department from September to provide consumers information about location of liquor stores and shop timings.

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