Tamil Nadu liquor sales drop for the first time in decade

Tamil Nadu liquor sales drop for the first time in decade

For the first time in a decade, liquor sales in Tamil Nadu declined, causing concerns for the exchequer which depends on the liquor revenues to bankroll various welfare schemes in the State.

The latest statistics from Prohibition and Excise Department said Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC), the monopoly agency selling liquor in the State, has recorded Rs 21,641.14 crore revenue in 2013-14, a drop of 0.18 per cent year on year. Figures for the same period last year stood at Rs 21,680.67 crore. 

Revenues from liquor sold through more than 6,000 TASMAC retail stores have been consistently on the increase ever since the State Government took over liquor vending in 2003.

Since 2003, the average year-on-year growth in liquor sales has been about 25 per cent. In 2012-13, sales figures crossed the Rs 20,000 crore mark for the first time, jumping nearly 19 per cent from Rs 18,000 crore in 2011-12. 

From Rs 3,639.93 crore in 2003-04, the revenue soared to Rs 4,872.03 crore in 2004-05, Rs 6,030.77 crore in 2005-06, Rs 7,473.61 crore in 2006-07, Rs 8,821.16 crore in 2007-08, Rs 10,601.50 crore in 2008-09, Rs 12,498.22 crore in 2009-10, Rs 14,965.42 crore in 2010-11, Rs 18,081.16 crore in 2011-12 and Rs 21,680.67 crore in 2012-13, the statistics further said.

Explaining the dip in sale, Excise Minister Natham Viswanathan told the Assembly that the reduction in excise and sales revenue of liquor in 2013-14 is due to certain amendments in tax.

However, TASMAC sources said sales dropped this year because the state government was forced to close nearly 500 liquor stores along the national highways following a May 2013 central government directive.

Tamil Nadu consumes more than 45 crore litres (4.6 crore cases) of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) per year.

The state boasts of higher liquor sales than the other three in the south since country liquor is not available and people are forced to buy their drinks from TASMAC shops. 

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