Hiked prices, lower drinking age likely in new Delhi excise policy

Delhi’s new excise policy, which could increase duty on liquor, and reform the process for grant of license for liquor shops, is likely to be announced soon, Delhi government sources said.

The Aam Aadmi Party government had around two months back indicated a new excise policy was being prepared and had set up a committee of experts for it, while also seeking suggestions from the capital’s people.

The report prepared by the expert committee has suggested various reforms that could result in an increase in liquor prices. Sources told IANS that the new excise policy is likely to introduce many changes in terms of issuing licenses for both government-run and private liquor shops in Delhi.

Sources also told that Delhi Government has planned to increase the number of liquor shops under its new excise policy.

“Apart from changes in number of dry days and lowering the age of drinking to 21, other main changes are likely to be seen in new excise policy are that around 700-800 new liquor shops to be set up in Delhi,” a source said.

On the basis of the panel’s suggestions, the Delhi government plans to increase its revenue by pushing prices of both Indian and foreign liquor by up to 50 percent to earn an estimated Rs 8,000 crore against the present Rs 5,000 crore.

The proposal of lowering the drinking age had been opposed by other parties in Delhi, but the government seems to be firm on its decision.

Last week, the Delhi Cabinet had approved a Group of Ministers under Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the Finance portfolio, to examine the new excise policy.