Liquor too hot to handle

Liquor too hot to handle

Liquor too hot to handle

Guzzlers will now have to shell out more as the liquor prices will see a steep rise with the State government proposing to impose an Additional Excise Duty (AED) per bulk litre by 16 per cent to 40 per cent in 17 slabs to achieve the revenue collection target of Rs 12,600 crore for the current financial year.

Sources in the Excise Department said cheap liquor brands find place in the first five slabs of the India Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), which generates about 70 per cent of the total State excise revenue. Liquor brands in the first five slabs will cost at least 16 per cent extra. For instance, a 180 ml whiskey bottle, which now costs Rs 85, will be sold at Rs 101.

The proposed AED on costly liquor brands, which are placed between the slab of six to 15 will be between 16 per cent and 40 per cent. A popular whiskey brand of 180 ml, which now sold at Rs 185 will cost Rs 250 from August 1. High-end liquor between the range of Rs 4,890 and Rs 7,615 per carton box on which the existing AED is Rs 637 per bulk litre will become costlier by another Rs 255 per bulk litre.

Liquor with new price range will come into effect on August 1. The government aims to generate at least 16.25 per cent of its total revenue during the current financial year, which is only next to Commercial Tax.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah exuded faith that the effective enforcement and regulatory measures, the department will achieve the target.

Bars react

Srinivas, owner of a prominent bar in the City said the hike is too steep. He said the government believes that the guzzlers have no choice but to spend money on liquor.

“It has to be seen how the alcoholics react to the hike. My worry is the affordability of the consumers. Winos spending at any cost may not be the case all the time.

People may even switch to low cost liquor or some may even quit drinking,” said Srinivas.

Another bar owner, Jagadish, said the liquor prices in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra is much higher than the existing rates of liquor in Karnataka but still the excise revenue in these three states is much higher.

“So far as I know, Kerala generates much more excise revenue than Karnataka despite a high excise rate. People will shell out money for their addiction,” said Jagadish.

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