In a significant move to arrest smuggling and bootlegging of imported liquor brands, the state government has reduced the excise duty on them by 50%.Thus a price of 1000 ml imported bottle, mostly scotch whiskey starting from minimum Rs 5,800 to maximum Rs 14,000, will at least reduce by 35 to 40%. The notification in this regard was issued on Thursday.We have reduced taxes from 300% to 150%. Now, the call on reduction in prices is to be taken by the liquor companies that are expected to do so Monday onwards,” said a senior state government official.
According to excise department officials during the three financial years starting 2016-17 till 2018-19, the excise revenue from imported spirits was around Rs 200 crore. However, they said, the revenue dipped to Rs 100 crore during fiscals 2019-20 and 2020-21. This, they said, did not occur because of Covid but due to sudden rise in sales tax.Also the formula for excise duty was revised earlier. This added a heavy tax burden leading to price rise and ultimately affecting the profit limits and also the volume of sale. With this tax cut we expect the volume and tax revenue to grow further,” they added.
Sources with International Spirits and Wine Association of India (ISWAI), said the decision would make the prices in Maharashtra match with those in other states like Goa as actual reduction would be around 35 to 40%.Excise officials expect the sale of bottles to rise to 2.5 lakh from the present 1 lakh eventually increasing the revenue to Rs 250 crore from present Rs 100 crore. “Wit this cut we expect the incidents such as people smuggling bottles from Delhi and other states to Maharashtra cities through flights or trains to come down,” they added.