In its move to generate additional revenue, the Maharashtra government is likely to levy up to Rs 10 green cess on each of the 350 crore bottles of India Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and country liquor and 125 crore bottles of beer sold annually in the state. The move will come into existence instead of increasing the excise duty. “Exact quantum of green cess will be decided later but it will be up to Rs 10 per bottle,” an official of the Excise Department said.
On the point of lowering excise duty on premium brands of imported liquor, the official said that excise duty in the state was the highest in the country. The official said the imbalance encourages large-scale smuggling of imported liquor from neighbouring states leading to loss of revenue.
“We found that for a bottle of premium brand of imported liquor, Maharashtra was levying an excise duty ranging between Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000, whereas in most states it was below Rs 1,000. We have proposed rationalisation of the duty structure on imported liquors. This move will continue to garner the same amount of excise duty owing to more consumption of liquor,” the official said.
The official continued by saying that excise on premium brands of imported liquor was much lower in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and New Delhi. “It was always believed that Maharashtra is charging the highest excise duty on imported liquor. We will reduce it suitably, so that our revenue mobilisation is not affected adversely,” the official said.
The official said that compared to Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the state target for excise duty is much lower because it has lesser number of shops. In UP, the number of country liquor shops is 14,000 and the excise duty target is Rs 29,000 crore.
While in Tamil Nadu, the target is Rs 31,000 crore, in Andhra and Telangana the target is Rs 38,000 crore. “In Maharashtra, there are 4,000 country liquor shops and 1,400 IMFL shops. We have not given new licences after 1974. We have imposed total ban on liquor in three districts viz. Wardha, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli,” the official added.