Boozers will continue to get their stock of liquor home delivered from permit rooms, beer bars and wine bars. The state government has granted an extension to these licensees to sell liquor in sealed bottles for off consumption.
On May 19, the state government had allowed permit rooms and wine and beer bars to dispose of their existing liquor stocks in sealed bottles for off consumption. This permission was subject to certain terms and conditions and pertained to stocks of liquor in their possession by March 24, when the lockdown was announced.
Later, on June 4, the government allowed these licensees to launch home delivery of liquor. However, the inventory with most licensees was getting over or had already been exhausted, which was likely to affect the livelihood of those dependent on these businesses. Hence, they had sought permission to purchase liquor from wholesalers for sale to the people.
These permissions have been granted by Excise Minister Dilip Valse Patil and Minister of State Shambhuraj Desai till further orders. These vendors will be able to sell liquor in sealed bottles after purchasing them from wholesalers. This permission is expected to help 15,200 licensees and the around 1 lakh people who are dependent on these businesses.
State excise is the third highest contributor to the Maharashtra government’s exchequer.
While Maharashtra sells around 3 crore bulk litres (BL) of country liquor per month, just 1.60 crore BL was consumed in May because of the flight of labour from cities and economic distress. Sales of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) dropped from 1.78 lakh BL per month to 1 crore BL. However, the sharpest fall is seen in the consumption of beer, which was just 1.24 crore BL in May compared to the average of 3.64 crore BL.
In the 2019-20 financial year, the state Excise Department earned revenues of Rs 15,428 crore against the Rs 17,977 crore target.