Will rethink higher tax on alcohol, feni: Goa CM

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Panaji, Feb 18 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday promised to rethink the proposed hike in excise duty on alcohol, as well as doing away with the proposed duty on the indigenous local drink cashew ‘feni’.

Speaking to reporters late on Tuesday after a meeting with representatives of the Goa Liquor Traders Association, Sawant also said that he would ask the Excise Commissioner to recalculate the tax slabs on alcohol, which he had proposed in his budget speech earlier this month.

“They (associations) have met me asking that some rates be reduced, saying that in comparison with other states, ours in Goa are higher. Considering their request, we will rethink. I will ask the Excise Commissioner to recalculate,” Sawant told reporters.

Sawant has been under pressure from the alcohol manufacturing and distributor lobby, tourism industry stakeholders and opposition MLAs, who have demanded a roll back in the tax slabs, which have been proposed by the Chief Minister in his budget speech earlier this month.

“For feni, we were not earning much revenue in any case, so it will not make a big difference. Yet, we will rethink that decision too,” Sawant said.

Goa Liquor Traders Association President Dattaprasad Naik told reporters that the new tax regime proposed by Sawant in his budget speech would make liquor prices in Goa higher than in the neighbouring states.

Goa has historically been known as a state with a liberal excise regime, with its liquor prices cheaper as compared to the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Maharashtra.

–IANS

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