Facing excise revenue loss, AP slashes liquor prices

Excise Revenue Loss: Jagan government which vowed total prohibition slashes liquor prices

The steep price increase effected earlier has led to rampant smuggling of liquor into the state especially from Telangana and Karnataka

Representative image. Credit: iStockPhoto

The Jaganmohan Reddy government which declared a policy of gradual total prohibition has now slashed the prices of alcohol in Andhra Pradesh.

The move is to curb the rampant liquor smuggling into the state since May that has severely dented its excise revenues. The state has earlier this week also put a ban on carrying in alcohol from other states, without its permit.

The price cut effective from Friday varies from Rs 50 to Rs 1,350 depending on the size and segment of the alcohol bottle, according to a government order on Thursday.

The decision, interestingly, was based on the suggestion of the Special Enforcement Bureau, formed in May to eradicate the illegal transportation, unauthorized sale, and illicit liquor processing in the state. The special police wing has registered 48,182 such cases and arrested 59,438 persons till Monday.

Since last October, the YSRCP government has adopted various measures to implement its policy of liquor prohibition in a gradual manner, foremost being the steep rise in the alcohol price.

The MRP of liquor bottles was further increased by about 75 per cent in May in view of the Covid-19 pandemic situation to dissuade public movement, crowding at the wine shops and to further discourage consumption of liquor in the state.

The huge alteration in prices however led to rampant smuggling of liquor into the state, especially from Telangana and Karnataka.

The forbidding prices also drove some habitual drinkers to consume sanitizers, and methyl alcoholic preparations causing over a dozen deaths in July-August.

So, the government has, in September, reduced rates of ordinary segment of liquor, beer, while moderately increasing the medium and premium segments price.

The SEB, in its latest report, observed that most smuggled liquor brands now are in the medium, premium category.

The report points to the huge difference - prices of some liquor brands in Andhra Pradesh are more than double the MRPs in Telangana and Karnataka.

So SEB suggested a reduction in MRP of such brands so as to prevent smuggling and consequent drain of the state revenues, officials said.

Out of 1,211 cases of liquor smuggling into Andhra Pradesh between 15 September and 15 October, 630 are from Telangana, 546 from Karnataka, and remaining from Odisha, and Tamil Nadu.