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Punjab Govt Approves Excise Policy

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Punjab Cabinet today approved the Excise Policy for the year 2016-17 by implementing
which the state government expects to collect Rs 5,440 crore as against Rs 5,040 crore in
current year, an increase of about Rs 400 crore.
The liquor vends for the year 2016-17 would be allotted through draw of lots in a transparent
manner, the police mentions.
"The basic thrust of the policy was to provide good quality liquor at affordable prices to the
consumers," an official spokesman said here.
The policy was approved by cabinet at its meeting held under the chairmanship of chief
minister Parkash Singh Badal, the spokesman said.
To have fair and healthy competition amongst the licensee, maximum retail prices of liquor
have also been fixed, he said.
"The rates would be displayed by the licensees conspicuously at their vends. No licensee
could charge rates higher than the rates fixed by the Department," he said.
The maximum retail prices of liquor to be served in the marriage palaces for marriages, have
also been fixed and would be displayed on the website of the Department and the same
would be made available by the officers of the Department at the time of issuing permits.

In a significant departure from the existing policy, the permit holder could buy liquor from
any liquor vend in the concerned district, where marriage function was to be held.
In the Excise Policy, the size of the groups has been reduced for ensuring maximum
participation by the small and medium licensees.
The total number of groups were proposed to be around 600-700 as against 226 of last year.
The number of retail vends have not been increased and have been kept at the last years
level 6400.
The quota of country liquor was pegged at 10.30 crore proof litres as against 9.80 crore proof
litres during the current year.
The quota of IMFL has been increased from 4.50 crore proof litres to 4.75 crore proof litres.
"Additional quota at the rate of 20% of the basic quota would also be available to the
licensees at concessional rate," as per the policy.
The quota of Beer has been increased from 312 lakh bulk litre to 330 lakh bulk litres.
This year, import duty on canned beer has been abolished, he said.
"This measure has been introduced with the intention to provide more variety of Beer brands
to the consumers. This time, model shops would also be established in major Corporation
Cities from where any person could buy liquor without any hesitation," he said.
To ensure that no wholesale licensee (L-13) can indulge in retail sale of liquor, penalties have
been made stringent.
For the first violation, license to be suspended for a month or a fine of Rs 5 lakh or both
whereas for the 2nd violation license to be suspended for three months or a fine of Rs 10
lakh or both.
In case of 3rd violation, the license will be cancelled, the policy says.

"The competent authority can revoke the cancellation only by recording the reasons in
writing with a fine of Rs 25 lakh," the policy says.
On the total quota of country liquor, the Additional License Fee has been increased from Rs
23 per proof litre to Rs 29 per proof litre.
"Thus, around Rs 300 crore would be specifically earmarked for
education/sports/cultural/maintenance of heritage sites in the current year," the spokesman
said.
No liquor vends would be permitted within the road reservation - alongside the national
highways and state highways.
No liquor vends would have direct access/ visibility from National Highway/ state highway.
In order to promote ethanol production and blending within the state the currently levied cess
of Rs 2 on per litre has been abolished instead Rs 2 per litre as import fee has been levied to
encourage ethanol production in the state.
The Cabinet also gave approval to amend rates of property tax of hotels in urban areas from
the year 2015-16.
Any hotel with capacity of 50 rooms or below would be charged Rs 6, Rs 4 and Rs 3 per sq ft
instead of existing Rs 6, Rs 5 and Rs 4 as property tax in case of A-category towns, while Rs
4 and Rs 2.50 per sq ft instead of existing Rs 4 and Rs 3 would be charged in case of Bcategory towns and Rs 2 and Rs 1.50 per sq ft for C-category towns remains unchanged.
Likewise, any hotel having capacity of 51 rooms or above would be charged property tax at
the rate of Rs 8, Rs 7 and Rs 6 per sq ft instead of Rs 9, Rs 8 and Rs 7 in case of A-category
towns and Rs 7 and Rs 5 per sq ft instead of Rs 8 and Rs 6 for B-category towns and Rs 6
and Rs 4 per sq ft instead of Rs 7 and Rs 5 for C-category towns.
However, these rates were for every built up area irrespective of floor, he said.
There would be not tax on vacant land and parking area.

The Cabinet also decided to present a bill in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in order to sort out the
legal problems with regard to disbursement of gratuity and leave encashment to the Privately
Managed Aided Colleges in the state.
It may be recalled that the state government gives 95% financial aid to 136 private colleges
across the state and management of some of the colleges had filed certain court cases in this
regard.