Liquor industry urges govt to allow alcohol sale online

Coronavirus Lockdown 3.0: Liquor industry demands govt to allow online sale, home delivery of booze

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As the sale of liquor commenced on Monday amid the coronavirus lockdown and social distancing norms imposed by the governments across India, the Rs 2.5 lakh crore liquor industry has urged the government to allow online sales and home delivery of liquor.

The home delivery of liquor by the retail outlets will ensure the safety of both the retailers and consumers, the industry association said.

In a presentation made to various state governments, the liquor industry body International Spirits and Winers Association of India (ISWAI) has suggested several measures to maintain social distance as well as promote the sale of liquor.

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The industry has also demanded the state governments including Karnataka to allow delivery of liquor through food delivery apps Zomato and Swiggy along with other essential commodities.

“It is a well-known fact that states want to mobilise more resources and the opening up of liquor sales will help them in achieving their targets. We have told the governments to allow online sales through e-commerce platforms with required regulatory mechanisms in place. It will not only help the government to achieve their revenue targets but also help the industry,” Amrit Kiran Singh, Chairman, ISWAI told DH.

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He said retail shops should also be allowed to take orders over the phone and deliver to their customers at their doors, so that the social distancing norms will be fulfilled properly.

On Monday, the online delivery of liquor commenced in Chhattisgarh and Punjab, while the governments of Maharashtra and Kerala are in the process of allowing the same, he said.

“We have made a presentation to several states including Karnataka last week and told them about the benefits of allowing online sale of liquor,” Singh said.

 Meanwhile, the manufacture of alcoholic beverages -- spirits and beer – commenced across several states including Karnataka. However, the normalcy in production is likely to be achieved in the next one to weeks as many factories are currently operating only one or two shifts. “As we need to maintain social distancing at our factories, we have not deployed our workers completely and achieve normal production gradually,” liquor industry sources said. 

The liquor manufacturers have been told to ensure safety of their workers, sanitise their factories every four hours and practice social distancing. 

Karnataka has set a target of mobilising Rs 22,700 crore excise revenue for 2020-21, a growth of 8.3% over the previous year. 

The alcobev industry in India has been growing at more than 12% CAGR for the decade starting 2001 making it one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. In 2018, the industry grew by 3-4% after experiencing a sharp decline of about 2.7% in 2017.