Delhi man calls Kejriwal’s 70% liquor tax ‘donation to country’, Twitter says alcoholics are COVID-19 warriors

On Tuesday, even as scores lined up to buy alcohol, a very angry Delhi resident lashed out at cops. His emotional outburst soon went viral with many calling ‘alcoholics the new COVID-19 warriors’.

A day after allowing the sale of liquor in the city, the Delhi government imposed a 'special corona fee' on alcohol sale which will be 70 per cent of the MRP, from Tuesday.

In an order issued late on Monday night, the Finance Department imposed the fee, describing it as the 70 per cent of the maximum retail price on all categories of liquor sold through retail licensees for consumption "off" the premises.

Followed by the May 4 order from the Finance Department, the Excise Department also issued another order directing the shops to collect the Special Corona Fee on all categories of liquor sold in Delhi though the retail vends with immediate effect.

"The Delhi government has levied a Special Corona Fee -- 70 per cent of the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) -- on all categories of liquor from the consumer at the Point of Sale by the retail vend licensees for consumption off the premises, which will be further reimbursed to the Government," the order signed by Deputy Commissioner (Excise) said.

It also asked the retailers to compile the data of the sale, saying the collected Special Corona Fee shall be reimbursed to the Government on a weekly basis.

"A copy of this order should be prominently displayed by the licensees at every vend before starting any liquor sale on Tuesday," the Excise Department said.

According to officials, the step will help in boosting the revenue, badly hit due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

On Sunday, while announcing the relaxation in the lockdown -- extended from another two weeks from Monday -- Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the government is finding it difficult to pay the salaries due to revenue loss of Rs 3,200 crore in April, as compared to the previous year.

The move can be seen as Delhi government's attempt to harvest more revenue from liquor sales as the lockdown has affected businesses and tax collection.

While only standalone liquor shops were allowed to open in Delhi from Monday, huge rush was witnessed in a number of areas, forcing Kejriwal to issue a warning of sealing the areas and shops again.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Excise Department also wrote to the Delhi Police for deploying field functionaries at the liquor vends for liquor sale to be allowed between 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.

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