April 24: Although there is not much change in the Excise Policy of Haryana for wines, liquor prices will be marginally increased and due to quota increase of 150% for wines, there will be more availability of labels and a wider possibility of ‘Special Sales’ this year, writes Subhash Arora who has noticed a distinct positive change in the wine policy since monopoly experiment was canned 3 years ago
The label registration fee for wines has been increased from Rs. 5,000 to 10,000 affecting the marginally selling brands but still giving them a chance to showcase them by making an appearance in the market for their favourite customers. The Assessment fee per bottle has been increased from Rs. 200 to Rs. 225- resulting in a minor cost increase per bottle. However, the Covid cess of Rs. 10 to Rs. 30 has been removed on all alcoholic beverages. The cess was Rs. 50 a bottle for imported wines.
The changes for the better have been made perhaps because last year’s policy was successful in terms of achieving their revenue objectives. Dr Anirudh Sharma, Deputy Commissioner Excise and Taxation reportedly said. The government had achieved their collection targets on liquor despite the Covid-19 pandemic and even registered a growth of 15%. “The new excise policy benefits most licensees. There has been no increase in the liquor license fees for the restaurants, pub and bars as they have already suffered huge losses,” he said.
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There has been no increase in the license fees for the star category hotels. Security deposit and annual fee instalment remains the same. Retail liquor license fee for bars and restaurants remain unchanged at ₹1.8 million These establishments can also operate until 6 am instead of 3 am with an additional payment of ₹2 million.
Wine importers and distributors are generally happy with the policy which bodes well for the Retail sector, especially imported wines. Sandip Parson, Director of Ace Beveragez, who is also involved in the Distribution and Retail of wines in Gurgaon, Haryana says, ‘the Policy is very progressive towards promoting low alcohol beverages like wines, Though the government has increased the label registration fees, I still think importers will look into the market more positively.’ The Liquor Warehouse (TLW) in Gurgaon already lists over 500 wine labels-this number is likely to up this year.
The L1BF annual license fee has been increased from Rs.10 million to Rs. 15 million. But for this amount there was earlier a cap of 20,000 cases last year with further restriction of whisky (10,000 cases), Wine (3,000 cases) and Beer (7,000 cases) as sub-categories. The increased license fee caps the total sales at 50% higher at 30,000 cases. Whisky category has been capped at 80% higher at 18,000 cases, while wine sees a whopping increase of 150% at 7.500 cases. Beer sees a drop to 4,500 cases.
Also Read : New Haryana Excise moves from Monopoly to Oligopoly
Theoretically, if there are 8 licensees for L1BF, the cost for them increases from Rs. 80 million to 120 million but the total wine that can be sold jumps up from 24,000 cases to 60,000 cases. This factor alone will help increase the wine sales from each of the distributors who would not like to lose the wine quota increase from 3000 cases to 7500 cases each.
There is no restriction on the total number of such licensees but the traders feel there could be an increase from 7 L1BF licenses last year to 12 this year. With the excise policy in Delhi still in the air, many might take a chance to benefit their sales in Haryana with porous Delhi border.
The wholesalers can increase their quota by paying additional pro-rate fees but the total sales in Haryana may not be beyond 360,000 cases for 12 licensees whereas last year it was capped at 300,000 cases. This implies that the policy is designed to cap the increase in alcohol consumption of 20% (60,000 cases).
The minimum legal age in Haryana has not been altered and stays at 25 years. With the intended decrease to 21 years in Delhi (announced as a Draft Policy only), it might be decreased next year after studying the experience in Delhi.
Also Read : Monopolistic Haryana Excise Liquor Policy for 2017-18
Bars and L-10-B supplies had to be sourced earlier from only one wholesaler L1BF. This has been relaxed to any L1BF or the nearest two L2BFs.
The Policy comes into effect on May 20, much earlier than the Delhi Excise Policy which is customarily extended on a Pro-rata monthly basis in the past. This year also it has already been extended\ till June, 2021.
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