Free Press Journal

Punjab approves excise policy 2015-16; liquor prices to fall


Chandigarh: Canned beer and country liquor have been made cheaper in Punjab under the new state excise policy which also eyes Rs 5,040 crore revenue in 2015-16, as against Rs 4,680 crore during the current fiscal. Though increase in revenue has been targeted, the minimum retail prices of Punjab Made Medium Liquor and Indian Made Foreign Liquor have been kept at same level as the current year, a state government spokesman said here.

“The basic thrust of the policy was to provide good quality liquor at affordable prices to the consumers. The prices of country liquor, which is consumed by common man, will be brought down from the current level. This will be ensured by a Price Control Cell in the Department,” he said. He further said that this time, the department was also introducing country liquor of “75 degree strength keeping in view the demand for this from the consumers”.

The quota of country liquor was pegged at 9.80 crore proof litres as against 9.50 crore proof litres during the current year. The quota of IMFL was retained at the existing level of 4.5 crore proof litres. This year, canned beer, both light and strong, was going to be made available at the duty of light beer.

This measure has been introduced with the intention of weaning away people from hard drinking, he said. Keeping in view the prevailing scenario, the maximum retail prices of liquor to be served in the marriage palaces for various functions, have been fixed and would be displayed on the website of the Department and the same would be made available at the offices of the Department at the time of issuing permits.

The liquor served in the functions at marriage palaces would be made available at lesser prices. Now people could buy liquor from any vend in the relevant circle. There should not be any checking during the functions barring in exceptional circumstances, the new policy says.

This year, the number of vends have not been increased and have been kept at 6,464 liquor vends. In a bid to make the lotteries in the state more effective to increase the revenue of the state, the Cabinet also gave green signal for framing the Punjab State Lotteries Rules, 2015, he said.