Alcohol lovers rejoice! Various states have been bringing down their excise duties allowing liquor vendors to offer substantial discounts on the MRPs of liquor especially imported liquor owing to an increase in revenues.
As per the report from West Bengal, a total of Rs.13,600 crore was earned by the West Bengal Excise Department in the fiscal year 2021-22. Although the revenue was 10 percent more than last year, the state earned 20 percent more than in the pre-Covid period. According to the excise department, the state has earned one-third of its profit from domestic liquor. As a result of the reduction in the price of imported foreign liquor, the sales have increased by 200%, which is considered virtually unprecedented by the officials of the Excise Department. Sales increased more than the excise department had targeted. The most sold is foreign liquor.
After the implementation of the new liquor policy by the state government in February, several vendors in National Capital, Delhi were also offering huge discounts on Alcohol prices. As per reports, these discounts range from 30 to 40 percent on MRP of branded liquors, as the new rule comes into effect in Delhi from November, last year. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had earlier said the government expected revenue of ₹10,000 crores after the implementation of the new policy, as reported by News18 earlier.
In February, the Madhya Pradesh government, as part of its new excise policy for the next fiscal year, allowed the sale of liquor at all airports and select supermarkets. As per a reply submitted by state Finance Minister Jagdish Devda in the state Assembly in August last year, the Madhya Pradesh government had earned 26.14 percent higher revenue from the sale of liquor and collected 22.39 percent more tax from the sale of petrol for the financial year 2020-21, which was dominated by the COVID-19 outbreak, when compared to 2019-20.
Interestingly, as per data collected by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5 2019-21), consumption of Alcohol in India has gone down by almost 10% as compared to the survey of NFHS-4 (2015-16).
While 29.2% of men in India between 15-49 years of age consumed alcohol in 2015-16, this was recorded at 18.8% in 2020-21. While in the case of women this percentage remained almost the same with 1.3 recorded in NFHS-5 and 1.3 in NFHS-4. In the national capital, while 24.7% of adult men consumed alcohol as per NHFS-4, it came down to 21.6% in NFHS-5. The consumption in West Bengal also saw a decline with 18.1% of adult men consuming alcohol in 2019-20 as compared to 28.7% in 2015-16.
In lieu of the increase in fuel prices, state governments seem to be compensating it via discounts and new liquor policy changes.