The Assam government from Friday hiked the rates of excise duty on liquor by 15 per cent to compensate the tax losses due to reduction of Value Added Tax on petrol and diesel, officials said.
An Excise Department official said that the tax would be higher for costly liquor in Assam while no tax has been proposed for wine, beer and cheap brands in view of the high existing levy and to protect the local industries.
Assam has 1,234 liquor and wine retail outlets with 318 in Guwahati alone. The number of bars in the state is 996.
The Assam government collected Rs 2,033 crore revenue on excise in 2020-21 fiscal and the department targeted to collect excise revenue of Rs 2,400 crore during the current financial year (2021-22), the official said.
Meanwhile, during the first wave of Covid-19, alcohol prices in the state had gone up after the government decided to include a 25 per cent cess on liquor, in order to meet huge healthcare expenses caused by the pandemic. However, the cess was lifted subsequently.