Haryana's Excise Department collected nearly Rs 75 crore as 'COVID Cess' on liquor sales during the three-month period beginning mid-May, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala said here on Thursday. In the first three months of the Excise Policy of the state for 2020-21 which came into effect in mid-May in view of the COVID-19 lockdown imposed earlier, Rs 262.98 crore more was collected as excise duty in comparison to the first quarter of last year, he said.
Chautala also holds the Excise and Taxation Department of the state. The state government had in May decided to impose a "COVID cess" on all types of liquor: Rs 5 per quart in case of country liquor, Rs. 20 per quart for Indian-made Foreign liquor (IMFL), Rs 5 in case of strong beer and Rs 2 in case of other beer and Rs 50 per pack greater than 375 ml in case of Imported Foreign Liquor (IFL).
The deputy chief minister said the Excise Department recorded its highest revenue collection despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. "In the 2020-21 Excise Policy's first quarter, Rs 262.98 crore additional excise duty has been collected in comparison to last year's corresponding quarter," he told reporters here.
Reacting to allegations of a liquor scam being levelled by the opposition, Chautala said had there been a scam, the Excise Department would not have made such a high revenue collection. This "reflects that there is no scam", he said. Chautala said GPS tracking system would be installed in vehicles coming out of the distilleries in the state, and a committee has been constituted for this purpose. The committee is also observing the practices in other states, he added.
He informed that the process of installation of CCTV cameras is in the final stages and by the end of September, all distilleries will have these cameras. Excise and taxation officials of districts that have distilleries have been directed to visit these units and check the cameras every 15 days.
Chautala said an inquiry was being conducted against officials who issued liquor permits and passes from March 27 to March 31 during the lockdown. Action will be taken against those found guilty as soon as the investigation is completed, he said.