Cash-strapped UP Govt Raises Fuel Prices, Imposes 'Corona Tax' on Liquor to Boost Revenue

Lucknow: Days after reopening liquor stores and relaxing lockdown norms, the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh decided to impose a ‘corona tax’ on liquor along with raising prices of petrol and diesel. The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting in Lucknow on Wednesday.

State Finance Minister Suresh Khanna said UP will impose an additional VAT (Value-Added Tax) of Rs 2 per litre on petrol and Rs 1 per litre on diesel, which is expected to generate an additional revenue of Rs 2,070 crore for the cash-starved state exchequer.

"Petrol will now cost Rs 73.91 per litre in UP, while diesel will be available at Rs 63.86 per litre. The hiked prices will come into effect from midnight on Wednesday,” he said.

Regarding the imposition of ‘corona tax’ on liquor, Khanna said the revised rates are likely to fetch an additional revenue of Rs 2,350 crore.

“Country-made liquor will be costlier by Rs 5, while medium-level alcohol price has been hiked by Rs 10 for 180 ml, Rs 20 for 500 ml and Rs 30 for those above 500 ml. Premium brands have been hiked by Rs 20 for 180 ml, Rs 30 for 500 ml and Rs 50 for those above 500 ml.

“The price of foreign branded liquor has been hiked by Rs 100 for 180 ml, Rs 200 for 500 ml and Rs 400 for above 500 ml,” said Khanna.

The move comes days after the Delhi government imposed a 70% 'Special Corona Fee' on the sale of liquor in the national capital. The move will boost the government revenue hit hard due to the coronavirus-forced lockdown.

Khanna said due to the lockdown there was an increase in the sale of illicit liquor as well as incidents of three persons losing their lives after consuming sanitisers due to the non-availability of alcohol.

Khanna said an amendment in the Epidemic Act has been approved following which frontline workers of the epidemic like doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and sanitation workers will receive protection.

An ordinance was also passed during the day wherein those escaping quarantine or hiding the coronavirus infection may have to face one to three years of jail as well as a fine.