The sale of liquor is still not allowed in some parts of Maharashtra. It is estimated that the government is losing around Rs 66 crore every day in tax revenue due to shutdown of liquor shops.

In FY 2019-2020, Maharashtra earned a tax revenue of around Rs 24,000 crore on sales of alcohol. So, based on the estimates it can be stated that due to lockdown, Maharashtra lost around Rs 2, 827 crore of revenue in the last 43 days.

While the state continues to bleed as its revenues start to dry up, there is a parallel system — a black market that is selling liquor at exorbitant rates. A source confirmed that this market is operating in complete discretion. “The sellers offer home delivery (which is preferred). With all means of revenue for the economically-weak population drying up they are resorting to taking such delivery jobs.” The charges to deliver alcohol starts from Rs 15 and can go up to Rs 100.

In the black market, beer is sold at around Rs 850 and wine is priced at Rs 1,000. “But the rates will increase as stocks deplete.” While whiskey can cost somewhere around Rs 7,000-8,000 per bottle (750 ml to 1 litre), vodka is being sold at Rs 5,000.

This operation is not limited to Maharashtra but spread across other states as well.

Tamil Nadu, which made around Rs 30,000 crore in revenue by taxing liquor sales, has seen a rise in home-brewing of alcohol along with revenue loss of Rs 3,452 crore during the lockdown period.

In Uttar Pradesh, few people have died, during this lockdown, after drinking home-brewed liquor. This populated state is the second-largest state in terms of tax revenue generation due to liquor sales. At present, the Uttar Pradesh government allowed liquor shops to reopen in a phased manner. It is reported that the state registered a sales of Rs 100 crore in day one of liquor shop operation.

Meanwhile, Karnataka’s excise department collected around Rs 45 crore in revenue. During the lockdown, it is assumed the state made a loss of around Rs 55 crore every day in tax revenue which came from alcohol sales.

While states like Telangana and Kerala are incurring losses of around Rs 58.90 crore and Rs 39 crore each day respectively for not starting liquor shops, there is Punjab that is allowing home delivery to avoid people from crowding in front of liquor shops.

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Free Press Journal