Finally, Punjab excise revenue goes up - ECAS Punjab

Finally, Punjab excise revenue goes up

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Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11

Having seen its tax and non-tax revenues drop sharply in wake of the Covid-induced lockdown, the rise in excise revenue has given the much-needed relief to the cash-strapped state.

The increase was not organic, rather it was achieved by the state government by strictly controlling liquor smuggling and illicit liquor manufacturing, the Excise Department claimed. This comes in the aftermath of the spurious liquor tragedy that claimed over 120 lives and the government crackdown on illegal distilleries that had cropped up across the state.

Operation Red Rose, launched against the distillers and brewers to prevent unaccounted for liquor sales, has also helped control smuggling, increase licit liquor sales and subsequently, the excise collections.

The year-on-year increase in excise revenue has been 20 per cent in October alone (It is Rs 501 crore this year against Rs 419 crore in October 2019). The overall increase in revenue from liquor sales, from mid-May (after vends were allowed to reopen after the lockdown) till October is nine per cent. The excise revenue between April and October 2019 was Rs 2,735 crore as against the revenue of Rs 2,984 crore realised this fiscal.

Financial Commissioner, Excise and Taxation, A Venu Prasad told The Tribune that after a long hiatus, the government was looking at an increase in its excise revenue by 20 per cent by March 2021. "As against the revised target of Rs 4,700 crore, we are looking at a revenue touch between Rs 5,800 to Rs 6,000 crore. This year, licit liquor sales have also gone up. The liquor quota had to be increased by five per cent in August and by another five per cent in November. We have got an additional Rs 250 crore in revenue," he said.

Almost 50 per cent of the licit liquor (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) seized in the state during the past five months is of a brand made by a distillery in Haryana, while the remaining seizures of licit liquor affected in the past over four months, are of two country-made liquor brands distilled in Chandigarh. Figures available with The Tribune show that 1.20 lakh litres of licit liquor being sold in the market here, mostly smuggled but also pilfered from distilleries in Punjab without excise duty being paid, has been seized by officials between May 17 and September 30.

from The Tribune

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