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

With the old regime of the liquor excise policy returning to New Delhi from September 1, consumers will see a host of changes. They may not be able to get their favourite liquor brand and may also have to pay higher prices for it.

From September 1, private liquor vendors in New Delhi and the national capital region (NCR) will shut down their stores. The state government will again become the sole seller of liquor in the capital after the new liquor policy was rolled back by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on July 30.

What went wrong with Delhi’s liquor policy?

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) launched a new liquor policy in 2021. From November 1, 2021, private vendors were allowed to sell the liquor in all 32 zones of the NCR. The state government decided to exit the business in toto.

However, only 468 stores came up in the capital with some running even after their licences expired, according to a report by Mint. The store owners were selling liquor at heavy discounts.

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In February, the excise commissioner in the city ordered the vendors to discontinue the discounts to avoid bootlegging. Since January, BJP has protested against AAP for the alleged “liquor scam”. Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena recommended a CBI investigation into the policy.

Eventually, on July 30, the state government decided to roll back the policy and retake the ownership of the liquor business in the city.

What can be expected next?

The Mint report stated that the wholesale L1 shops are fully stocked. By September end, 550 stores are expected to get operational. The government has also announced that it is opening 300 liquor stores in the first week of September.

However, the bottlenecks are expected to continue. The government will focus more on the volume of sales. It might lead to lower availability of several brands.

Also, there might be a shortfall in the supply of domestic brands as they carry a higher wholesale fee as compared to international brands.

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