When it introduced its new liquor policy in November 2021, the Delhi government had looked to bring in Rs 10,000-crore revenue in one year. In the eight months since, the excise department has fallen well short of its target, collecting revenue of just around Rs 1,993 crore, officials told The Indian Express.
As per data shared by a Delhi government source, the excise department collected a revenue of Rs 600.63 crore between December 2021 and March 2022, Rs 528.29 crore in April and May, Rs 442.40 crore in June and Rs 421.82 crore in July.
On Saturday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced that the Delhi government had decided to roll back the new excise policy and that from August 1 liquor will be sold only in government outlets, as was the case before November, when the new policy was implemented.
Sisodia said that earlier, the revenue from alcohol sales was Rs 6,000 crore annually, and under the new policy, it would have been Rs 9,500 crore. He, however, blamed the BJP for the shortfall.
“Because the corruption stopped, a plan was hatched by these people to ensure the failure of the new policy. One by one, they threatened private players in the name of ED and CBI. Many of them shut shop. Under the new policy, there could have been 850 shops (like earlier) but currently, 468 are operational,” he said.
The new excise policy was introduced in Delhi in November last year. It made sweeping changes to the nature and functioning of liquor trade in the city. The government exited the customer-end of the trade entirely, shutting all government-run liquor vends, and sale of liquor was handed over exclusively to private players.
While the new excise policy hoped to meet its target of opening 849 vends in 32 zones, fewer than 650 were open as of June 5. As of July 18, there were 468 active vends.
Between June 5 and July 18, 176 liquor vends shut down after zonal licencees surrendered their licences due to financial unviability and nine out of 32 zones were left unserved.
A senior Delhi government official said the shutting down of shops directly led to revenue loss. “Excise revenue is the second largest source of income for Delhi after GST. Several shops couldn’t open as they were in non-conforming zones; in the first quarter of this year, about nine zones surrendered their licences.”
Last week, data shared by the excise department with the
L-G Office showed that revenue from the sale of liquor has been decreasing over the years. According to data, while revenue was Rs 6,898.54 crore in 2019-20, it dropped to Rs 5,741.04 crore in 2021-22. In the first quarter of 2022-23, Rs 1,594.84 crore was collected from sale
of liquor and VAT, data states. Officers in the L-G office claimed this includes the Rs 980 crore of refundable deposit.
Meanwhile, officials in the Delhi government said it would be difficult to open shops in just one day. “The proposal to bring back the old regime is under process; it will have to go to Cabinet and then the L-G for approval. Also, manufacturers have to be ready with stock to supply to Delhi. All licences (wholesale/warehouse) will also expire on July 31…,” said an official.