Dec 13: Liquor prices have been increased in Assam by 10-15 % with effect from December 10, in order to compensate the loss from VAT reduction on petrol and diesel, though no changes have been made mercifully in wine and beer prices, while adding a new category in price points to differentiate between different segments for the excise duties which are based on the price brackets in Assam, writes Subhash Arora
‘Ek haath se de, doosre haath se le’ is a well-known adage in Hindi. It means giving with one hand while taking it back from the other. In this case, it translates more like the alcohol drinkers having to pay for the decrease in VAT in petrol and diesel prices which had hit the roof, obliging various State governments including Assam to reduce the prices by about Rs. 8 a liter, still keeping it almost double that of last year when the taxes were raised quietly to pay for Corona medical assistance including vaccinations etc and other out-of-budget expenses due to the Pandemic.
The tax will increase by around 15% for the premium brands and 5% on lower priced liquor. Hindustan Times had published a Report on November 13, where it had mentioned that the States and Union Territories (UTs) have made the decision to cut VAT on petrol and diesel following the Centre’s announcement to significantly reduce central excise duty on these fuels on Diwali eve. As many as 25 states and union territories had then reduced Value Added Tax(VAT) on petrol and diesel to provide marginal relief to consumers.
Excise duties have been rising in Assam with the State Government earning merely Rs. 148 crore excise revenue in the Fiscal year 2001-02. This increased to Rs. 2,033 crore in 2020-21. According to the Report in the North Eastern Chronicle.
In this Fiscal 2021-22, the department has set a target of Rs. 2,400 crore excise revenue collection. (In comparison, Delhi government has set the target of 10,000 Cr out of which over Rs. 9000 have already been collected by the UT last month in the form of new Vend fees and various licenses-without including the excise duties on wine and liquor sold.)
The increase in taxes was when the State Government did not issue new licenses for liquor and wine shops after 2001. However, it had issued fresh licenses for bars during that period. It has decided to issue licenses for wine shops at a few more select locations. The state has 1,234 liquor and wine shops-318 in Guwahati alone. The number of bars in the state is flirting with 1000 at 996.
Earlier this year in July 2001 Assam had allowed online liquor sales during the Pandemic in Guwahati with the intention of increasing the area of operation, according to a Report in ET. However, it is not certain how long this service will continue.
For further details on taxes in several brackets, please click here:
If you Like this article please click on the Like button