Liquor prices in Delhi are set to rise next month as the cabinet cleared the new Excise Policy earlier this week. While the Policy leaves the licence fee untouched for the financial year 2013-14, Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) will be dearer by five per cent and country liquor by 11 per cent once the new rates are notified in June 2013. Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister (CM), Delhi, who presided over the cabinet meeting, said, "The new excise policy focuses on better availability of quality liquor in Delhi. The marginal hike in different quality and brands of liquor would come into force after issue of a notification."
The price of country liquor sold under the 'economy liquor' category will increase from Rs 120 to Rs 130 per quart. Rates in another category, 'Delhi medium liquor', have been hiked from Rs 90 to Rs 100 per quart. The government has marginally increased the transportation cost of liquor.
A statement from the CM's office said the licence fee for hotels, clubs and restaurants to serve liquor remains unchanged. "However, the new excise policy offers an option to restaurants to deposit the licence fee in two equal instalments," Dikshit said.
The State Excise Department said the licence fee has not been increased to maintain a balance in the market. An increase would have resulted in a steep hike in prices. This has been avoided to ensure that the Delhi market keeps its advantage over neighbouring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Many people come to Delhi to buy liquor, which is reflected in the high turnover at vends near the borders with NCR towns.
Delhi is India's largest market for imported wine and spirits after Mumbai. The Delhi government has a steep revenue target of Rs 3,500 crore for the current financial year. By not effecting a steep hike in prices, the state proposes to keep the liquor market customer-friendly for higher sales and revenue collection.
The licence fee for hotels, clubs and restaurants to serve liquor, however, remains unchanged.