Now Punjab government wants to sell liquor in the state:To jack up its revenue collection, the state government of Punjab has made a strategy to take the entire liquor business in the state in its hands, by setting up a corporation.The Excise and Taxation Department proposed a plan to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh this week. Once he agrees to the proposal,it will be brought up before the Council of Ministers and the proposed corporation will become the sole wholesaler of liquor, though retail trade may remain in private hands.
The idea is to maximise the excise revenue. For the current fiscal, the government has set a target of Rs 5,420 crore — which is likely to fall way short as the liquor business was marred by the closing down of bars, hotels and vends along highways for a large part of this fiscal.
“By taking the liquor business in its hands, the government can increase excise collection by Rs 2,500-Rs 3,000 crore,” said an official. The idea was discussed last year also, but could not be implemented as the excise policy had to be announced within two days of the Congress assuming power.
Officials said they had studied models of end-to-end liquor trade being run by government corporations in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the partial takeover (with the government being the sole wholesaler of liquor, but letting retail trade in private hands) in Rajasthan.
The state has a powerful liquor lobby. The business is controlled either directly by MLAs (from Congress, SAD and BJP) or relatives/business partners.The liquor lobby has been opposing the plan tooth and nail, saying a check on smuggling of cheaper liquor from neighbouring states can increase revenue.
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook