Chandigarh pays high price for a swig
SAYING ‘CHEERS’ will now be more expensive as liquor prices in Chandigarh are set to soar with the new excise policy that comes into force from this financial year. A jump between 40-60 per cent is expected in all kinds of liquor brands available, which may not bring much cheer to those who preferred Chandigarh to buy cheap alcohol.
The rise in liquor prices comes from the increase in excise duty as well as the assessment fee as decided in the new policy. By hiking the excise fee by 35-40 per cent, and in some cases up to 100 per cent, the union territory (UT) has tried to bring the same at par with excise fee in the neighbouring state of Punjab.
For instance, the excise duty on country liquor has been enhanced from Rs 7 proof litre to Rs 15 proof litre (PL), making this minimum retail sale price expensive by approximately 50 per cent. Similarly, dividing the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) in few broad categories, the excise duty on cheap, economy and medium IMFL has been fixed at Rs 30 PL. For premium and ultra premium brands, it would now be Rs 35 PL and for semi-deluxe, deluxe and super deluxe brands, the excise duty will be Rs 50 PL. It is the ultra deluxe brands where excise fee has been notched up the most at Rs 60 PL.
Beating the scorching heat this summer too would be an expensive affair as beers would become expensive by around Rs 20 per bottle as the excise fee goes up by Rs 10 per bottle for light beer and Rs 17 for strong bottle. This has also been increased on wines, champaigns and ciders from Rs 12 PL to Rs 15 PL.
However, the Value Added Tax (VAT) remains unchanged at 12.5 per cent as also the excise duty and assessment fee for liquor sold to defence personnel remains the same.
The rise in liquor rates is due to hike in excise duty and in the assessment fee
Brijendra Singh, deputy commissioner, UT, told TEHELKA, “We were working upon changing the excise policy for sometime now. The new rates would certainly help in breaking the prevalent thinking that liquor is cheaper in the UT and would also break the trend of people rushing to the UT to purchase it. It would also help arrest smuggling of liquor.”
Meanwhile, the administration has also decided to continue with the practice of inviting tenders for liquor vends rather than renewing the licence. With a view to generate more income, the administration has now made the price at which a tender was sold for a particular vend in 2011 as the reserve price for the current bid. Regarding this, Singh said, “If a specific vend fetched Rs 1.25 crore during 2011, this price would now be the reserve price.