UPGRADATION in Excise Policies in Uttar Pradesh 2021
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Uttar Pradesh excise department concerned about its revenue and outdated policy, has finally announced to change many policies benefiting the consumers and the department. Uttar Pradesh is kind of eminent when we talk about spurious alcohol. It is suspected that the said changes are derived from a horrifying incident that took place in Bulandhshahr of Uttar Pradesh just before the changes were announced. What happened in Bulandshahr was that five people died and sixteen were hospitalised due to consuming allegedly spurious liquor. This isn’t the first time this sort of incident happened in the state but surely has opened the eyes of the officials to the fact that Uttar Pradesh had needed changes in the excise policy for a long time now. Not just changing policies but a strict action has also been taken because of this incident, three senior Meerut zone excise officials are removed from their post for laxity and four policemen, an excise inspector and three other members of the department are suspended as well.
- Long waited changes will be finally arriving soon and the expected revenue of Rs. 28,340 crore in 2020-21 is expected to turn to Rs. 34,500 crore in the year 2021-22. This policy is determined to take the revenue to Rs. 6,000 crore during the fiscal year. State Cabinet headed by Chief Minister himself granted the approval to the Excise policy 2021-22. The cabinet assured the cut on excise duty that would eventually lead to lower prices of alcohol in state. There are many changes that are about to take place in the state because of this policy.
- The economically and quality priced UP made liquor that is manufactured with Grain ENA of 42.8% strength only, will be made available in the tetra packs at just the price of Rs.85 only at all the country-made liquor shops across the state of Uttar Pradesh. Country-made liquor will see no rise in the maximum retails price.
- New policy will focus hard on complete digitalization with the Implementation of Integrated Supply Chain Management System (IESCMS) by computerizing various processes of the department. Implementation of PoS machines will be now mandatory in the system of sale of liquor in retail shops in the year 2021-22.
- Low Alcohol Beverages will be now permitted for sale in retails shops of foreign-made liquor, model shops, and premium retail vend besides the beer shops. Shelf life of beers as per these policies will be increased to nine months and reduction on excise duty on beer has been announced in this policy as well. Foreign liquor in 90 ml bottles would be permitted for sale under the regular category now.
- One policy in this announcement would bring confusion and shock to all the whiskey lovers of the entire state. People collect alcohol or make a bar in their homes these days. This is more of trend everybody is following nowadays and these policies would make hard on them to keep up their bars at home as it will be now mandatory to obtain a license for the purpose of keeping alcohol more than the prescribed limit at home. This would be the highlight of these new liquor policies. New rules would allow an individual to store not more than 1.5 litres of each Indian made foreign liquor and country-made and just four bottles of beer without a license from state excise department. Excise officials cleared that the said license would be mandatory for transport, purchase and possessing the stocks exceeding the prescribed retail sale limit. Fee for such a license would be Rs.12,000 only plus Rs.51,000 as a security amount per annum that is subjected to the prescribed conditions.
- These policies aims to promote the production of wine within the state. And to accomplish their aim, government has mended the rules relating to the production of wine. Such Wine, that is being manufactured using locally produced fruits would be made exempted from any excise duty, this exemption would be valid for the period of five years after implementation of the said policy. To promote the sale of wine in the state, vintners would be permitted to retail sell their wine, also allowing the wine taverns in its premises. Wine is the upcoming trend for one class of people that Uttar Pradesh government by way of these policies is aiming for.
- Business of alcohol has been a hassle for a long time now and government wanted to relax its policies and in lieu of that, label approval, brand registration, bar, and micro-brewery license holders can now renew their licenses up to three years. Earlier they were made mandatory to require approvals every year. Given the situations that had arisen due to covid-19, period between April 2020 and June 2020 will be excluded when the criteria of renewal will be determined.
- Advance storage of foreign liquor, wine and beer will now be permitted and such storage would commence on 15th of February. To strike out the concerns and ensure that liquor is available on the commencement of the year, simplification of rollover procedure of residual stock on March 31 for the year and exemption of fee for the purpose of carry forward of such stocks will also take place. Moreover, the renewed country liquor retail shops would be permitted to sell residual stock till April 7.
- These policies aims to encourage exports from other states as well, and in furtherance of that, simplification of label and brand approval process for exports to other states and countries are going to take place. Trademark registration is also simplified. Now it won’t take that much time and efforts that it used to. The complex process of registration of trade mark is struck out and now trademark will be registered on simple submission of proof of filing of application.
- Some good news as well, the premium retail vends would now be permitted at the airports. These premium retail vends shall have facilities like wine-tasting and would be permitted to sell drinking accessories as well. Moreover, earlier there was a provision restricting establishment of any liquor shop within the area of area of five kilometres of the border of another district, without the consent of the collectors of both the districts. These policies aim to strike out this restriction.
- Mono-cartons will be used for sale of imported liquor and Indian-made foreign liquor in scotch category having a maximum retail price of Rs.2,000 or more. District Collector will now enjoy the power of renewal of micro-brewery licenses instead of Excise Commissioner and would also be authorised to amend the names of the renewed shops.
- The present parameter of measuring alcohol by manual hydrometers would be changed to digital alcohol meters, calibrated/certified by NABL. And this isn’t just optional but mandatory for laboratories in distilleries and laboratories of the department. Installation of modern electronic devices in the distilleries and sugar mills in the state is mandatory before December 31, 2021.
- Bad effects of drinking, many incidents people are aware of, happens under the influence of alcohol. Government may have been silent on such issues until now but have decided to do their best to spread awareness among the public. And in furtherance of that, these policies mention arrangement of a special campaign regarding the ill effects of drinking and the issue of responsible drinking. Focus of these campaign shall be on drunk driving, responsible consumption, and underage drinking.
These policies aim to procure the revenue set by the government and redefining the structure of the excise department to another level of development. Development comes at a cost and people may feel hassled at first but policies would never go to the extent of harassing the interests of general public. Moreover, the hassles people would feel at first can be soothed and to help them with any hassle, we are more than happy to help.