Issuing a press release here, the Finance Minister disclosed that the excise duty collection during the current financial year registered an increase of 37.62 percent over last year’s figures for the same period . He said that during the years 2021 and 2022, the excise collection from April 1 to October 12 was Rs 3.11 billion and Rs 4.28 billion respectively. He said that the people of Punjab deserve to be congratulated on the fact that their government has recorded an increase of Rs 1170 crore in special revenue during this period.
Criticizing the previous state governments of the Akali-BJP alliance and the Congress for not making adequate changes in the excise policy due to their collusion with the liquor mafia, the finance minister said that these parties facilitated the loot of more than 22.5 billion to the liquor mafia. of the Treasury if we assume only a 7% increase in excise duty collection every year for the last 15 years against the current growth of over 37%. He said that the intentions of the government headed by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann were clear from the fact that an excise duty collection target of Rs 9,000 crore has been set while the previous government’s target was only Rs 6,200 crore . Referring to the unfortunate Tarantarn incident that took place during the Congress regime, Cheema said the political-mafia nexus in the liquor trade had not only caused losses to the exchequer but also led to the loss of several human lives
The Finance Minister said that the liquor mafia lobby was trying to bully our officers through the BJP government at the center to break this policy. He said that the honest government of Punjab under the leadership of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and following the revolutionary ideology of Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal stands firm with its officers to thwart the tactics used by the Center through the Compliance Directorate or CBI. He said the Akali Dal and Congress parties were also questioning the Punjab government’s excise policy under pressure from the liquor mafia. He challenged these parties to answer why there was no adequate increase in excise duty collection during their governments.
Dedicating the healthy 37 percent growth to the new excise policy in his press statement, Cheema said the excise policy 2022-23 has marked a paradigm shift in liquor trade in Punjab . “The main twin objectives of the excise policy are to maximize revenue and provide affordable quality liquor to the citizens. The policy also strives to maintain a strict check on smuggling of liquor from neighboring states through comprehensive enforcement and incorporating new technological measures,” said the finance minister.
The Finance Minister further said that the real potential of the liquor trade had been assessed by allotting the retail groups through free, fair and transparent e-tendering. He said those sales had been in pools of a general size of about $30 million, and a total of 6,378 sales in 175 pools had been auctioned electronically in the state. “The successful tenderer has deposited security at the rate of 17 per cent of the discovered license fee. Keeping in view consumer demand, there is open quota for Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), imported foreign liquor (IFL) and beer. This provides more scope for the retailer to raise the desired type of liquor as per the market demand,” Cheema added.
Highlighting the initiatives taken to ensure the availability of liquor at the most competitive price in the state, Harpal Singh Cheema said that the duty regime has been further liberalized and the minimum retail prices of Punjab Medium Liquor (PML ), IMFL, IFL (BIO Brands) , and beer have been included in the new excise duty policy. He said that excise duty on all types of liquor except PML has been levied at the rate of 1 percent of the wholesale price and in the same pattern, IFL levy is also levied at 1 percent of the wholesale price. “By doing this, the prices of PML, IMFL, IFL (BIO Brands) and beer have become affordable and cheaper compared to previous years,” the finance minister said while adding that the prices of alcoholic beverages are now lower or almost. at the same level as neighboring States.
The finance minister said lower prices of liquor compared to neighboring states and increased law enforcement have led to a major decrease in liquor smuggling in Punjab. He said due to the reduction in prices of PML and IMFL, consumers were now avoiding smuggling liquor or illicit liquor made from Lahan. He said that due to the fall in prices and the stoppage of smuggling from neighboring states, the real sales potential of liquor sales has come out which is reflected in the rise in lifting. PML consumption registered a 4 percent increase, while IMFL consumption has increased by 88 percent and beer by 73 percent, he added.
Cheema said that new distillery licenses and brewery license have been envisaged in the policy to encourage capital investment besides increasing employment capacity in the state. He said that a new license for the production of malt spirit has also been introduced in the State. He said POS machines will be installed at every retail outlet in the coming months to ensure customers receive a bill for their liquor purchase.
Harpal Singh Cheema said that Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led Punjab government has made a series of efforts to increase the state’s own revenue to fulfill all the commitments and promises made to the people, in addition to ‘start an era of development and prosperity. He said the excise government has also tightened the noose against past defaulters.