By Vijay C Roy
The Punjab government would introduce a new excise policy for the year 2013-14 within month, said an official in the excise department.
Currently, the government is engaged in discussions with dealers and distributors among other stakeholders.
Sources said besides keeping in view the interests of retailers and other stakeholders, the government would focus on higher revenue generation from state excise, one of the major sources of revenue for the state.
“We are in the process of formulating the new excise policy keeping in view the interest of stakeholders, dealers, distributors as well as state government. Currently, we are taking suggestions and feedback from the concerned people and on the basis of that would formulate the new policy,” said the excise department official.
Already, the state government has collected Rs 2,515 crore during the period April-December 2012 in the current financial year against the target of Rs 3,800 crore. Considering the collections in the first three quarters of the current financial year, the targeted collection seems to be a herculean task.
In the current fiscal, going by the Budget estimates, the state has targeted to collect Rs 3,800 crore as excise revenue against Rs 3,250 crore (as per budget estimates) during the previous year. So, the targeted collection for the next fiscal year probably be over Rs 4,000 crore.
Last year in March, the Punjab Cabinet had approved the excise policy for the year 2012-13, with an increase of Rs 570 crore over previous year. According to the policy, the excise revenues would touch Rs 3,638.40 crore at the end of March, 2013, against the expected excise collections of Rs 3,068.40 crore for the year 2011-12.
According to the last policy, the state had decided to continue with the existing system of allotment of liquor vends through draw of lots. Further, the government decided to take stringent measures against bootleggers and therefore, has proposed stringent penalties against them. The system of affixing of intaglio printed security labels on liquor bottles during the previous year, had proved very useful and hence it decided to continue with this system.
Also, in the last year’s policy, the license fee on PML and IMFL was increased by Rs 17 a bottle. The quota for the current fiscal was also increased approx by 5.5 per cent over the previous year. Keeping in view the licensees’ demand, the ratio of open/fixed quota of PML was fixed 60:40. To wean away people from hard drinks and to promote lighter drinks, maximum retail sale price of light and strong beer has also been fixed at Rs.70/- and Rs 75 a bottle. Also, under the policy, the minimum retail price (MRP) of PML was increased by Rs 10 a bottle and of IMFL by Rs 20 a bottle.