It is a known fact the coronavirus has had a severe impact on the Indian economy. Due to the countrywide lockdown for almost 2 months, all businesses, shops and other stuff had to be put to a complete stop.
Factories of non-essential businesses were closed, which meant production and manufacturing could not be done. Along with this, delivery services were also limited to only essential services like food, medicines, and other day to day household items.
The economy saw a great dip during this time, but some businesses are being reopened to get it back on track. One of those was the alcohol sector which saw the biggest hit during the pandemic crisis.
However, it seems that not only liquor shops are allowed to open but soon you can get home delivery of alcohol from Amazon and BigBasket.
Can You Really Order Alcohol Online?
Reuters has reportedly come across a notice from the West Bengal State Beverages Corp authorising Amazon.com Inc and Alibaba owned BigBasket grocery chain to start online shopping of alcohol on their portals.
The West Bengal State Beverages Corp is the agency that decides on the online retail of liquor trade in the state.
As per the Reuters report, this is the first step of Amazon’s, an e-commerce giant from the US, into India’s alcohol sector.
India’s liquor industry is apparently a multi-billion-dollar sector reportedly around $27.2 billion, according to estimates by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.
As per the notice by the agency, Amazon India has been given the clearance to deliver alcohol in the state of West Bengal.
Amazon now has to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state before they can start selling liquor on their portal.
The notice was released on Friday and had listed both Amazon and BigBasket as being eligible to register with the authorities and carry out legal online retail of liquor on their platforms.
As of yet no other news has come out since both Amazon and BigBasket have not released any statement from their end.
Apart from these two, Swiggy and Zomato have been doing online retail of alcohol since May when restrictions on alcohol were lifted.
This news comes about a month after West Bengal had invited companies to give their application for “handling electronic ordering, purchase, sale and home delivery of alcoholic liquors from licensed retail outlets” to consumers who were of legal drinking age in the state.
Will This Help?
As of now, this online delivery by Amazon and BigBasket of online alcohol delivery is only for West Bengal.
It still remains to be seen if other states will take this same route or not. This could take time since every state has a different policy and regulations regarding the sale of alcohol.
Of course, online sale of alcohol could help the economy a little, since the revenue from alcohol is very impressive.
Apparently liquor taxes cover about 15-30% of a states’ revenue, coming to be around Rs. 2.48 lakh crores.
Ever since restrictions on liquor were levied, state governments have been asking for the lifting of them since it created quite a bit of cash crunch for them.
It was estimated that the country was experiencing a loss of about 700 crores a day because of the alcohol ban during the lockdown.
So surely, the economy could benefit if a more contactless and safe sale of alcohol is available.
It would also allow people to order alcohol from the safety of their homes, instead of queuing up in front of liquor shops and creating a health hazard for themselves and others.
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