UP hikes licence fee for liquor, introduces bar code for bottles

Deepa Jainani
licence fee for liquor, bar code liquor, beer, Indian made foreign liquor

The Uttar Pradesh government has approved the state's 2020-21 excise policy, in which it has increased the licence fee on country-made liquor by 10%, beer by 15% and foreign liquor by 20%. The decision was taken by the state Cabinet late on Tuesday night and the hike in licence fee is likely to lead to increase in prices with effect from April 1, 2020.

The new excise policy also provides for a special licence for serving liquor on special trains and cruises, which was free earlier. Under the new norms, licences will also be given to airport lounges and hotels located outside airports.
Another highlight of the policy is that now beer shops too can sell wines along with the Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) shops in Uttar Pradesh.

Talking to FE, principal secretary, excise, Sanjay Bhoosreddy, said the state government has made a simple and transparent excise policy that would remove cartels. "The renewal of licences will be done through e-lottery. Under the new policy, one person will be allowed to have only two (liquor) shops in the state," he said, adding that the new policy aims at a higher excise duty realisation due to ease of doing business through decentralisation of power, rationalisation of duty structure, use of modern technologies for quality assurance and availability of brands and high-end quality products all over the year.

The new policy has fixed an annual licence fee for hotels, restaurants and clubs in category-1 cities for serving liquor at Rs 10 lakh (Gautam Buddha Nagar, Ghaziabad districts, municipal corporation area of Kanpur Nagar, Agra, Prayagraj, Lucknow and Varanasi).

The licence fee for category-2 cities has been fixed at Rs 7.5 lakh. This includes the municipal corporation areas of Gorakhpur, Mathura, Ayodhya, Aligarh, Bareilly, Firozabad, Meerut, Jhansi, Moradabad and Saharanpur.
While the licence fee for category-3 cities is Rs 5 lakh, for category-4 cities, it is Rs 2.5 lakh, Bhoosreddy said.

Through these measures, the government has set a target of Rs 31,600 crore in excise collection for FY21. The government has also announced that bar codes will be placed on all liquor bottles so that consumers can check the authenticity of the contents.