Employees in the large corporate offices in Haryana will be allowed to consume low-content alcohol drinks such as beer and wine at the workplace, the state’s 2023-24 excise policy says. Approved by the council of ministers on May 9, the policy will come into effect on June 12, writes Subhash Arora.
The Policy allows possession and consumption of beer, wine and ready-to-drink beverages by staff in a corporate office, but with a rider that the corporate will have at least 5,000 employees and a minimum covered area of 100,000 square feet in a single premise (self-owned or leased), according to Moneycontrol.
Excise duty on mild beer, wine, and draught beer has been reduced along with the annual fee for bar licenses for restaurants, pubs and cafes. The new policy has also increased the quotas for Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), imported foreign liquor and country liquor.
“With this, there has also been a nominal increase in excise duty rates on country liquor and IMFL. The increase aims to push the excise revenue significantly,” the government said in a statement.
The new policy also provides for the renewal of IFL (BIO) labels at the district level for ease of business. Moreover, the license fee for small (craft) breweries has been reduced to promote the MSME sector.
The supervisory fee for wineries has been reduced to promote the industry in the state, the statement said. The liquor vends will not be opened around Mansa Devi temple in Panchkula and in villages where gurukuls operate.
Excise duty on ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages and beer within the mild and super mild categories has been slashed to promote low-alcohol content beverages, according to a Statement by the government.
Cabinet Decision on Haryana Policy
The Haryana cabinet approved last Tuesday the new excise policy 2023-24, under which the retail permit fee has been imposed and the government aims to collect an extra Rs 400 crore for the environment and animal welfare fund. This is meant for Gau Seva — according to the official statement after the cabinet meeting under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
“Reiterating the state government’s commitment towards protecting the environment and animal welfare, the retail permit fee has been imposed in the new policy with a targeted collection of Rs 400 crore. The said amount will be utilised for the environment and animal welfare,” it said.
Discontinuation of PET bottles in 2024
As an environmentally friendly measure, the new policy aims to discontinue the use of PET bottles in the bottling of liquor after February 29, 2024. In the new Policy, there has been an increase in the basic quota of country liquor, Indian Made Foreign Liquor and Imported Foreign Liquor.
To promote the MSME sector, the license fees for small (craft) breweries have been reduced. The supervisory fee for wineries has been reduced to promote wineries in the state, the statement further said. To curb the pilferage of liquor by wholesale licensees, the penalty provisions have been made more stringent. There will be a complete ban on liquor promotion advertisements on various platforms by the licensee, including on social media.
Caution boards would be displayed outside all hotels, pubs and bars, restaurants and cafes serving liquor under excise license. In the new Excise Policy, the limit of the maximum number of retail liquor vends in the state has been reduced successively from 2,600 to 2,500 in 2022-23 and from 2,500 to 2,400 in 2023- 24.
In the current policy, the retail liquor vend zone size has also been decreased from four to two in a bid to allow more participants to apply for liquor shop licenses through e-tender. With an increase of almost two-fold in excise revenue in the last five years, Haryana’s Excise Policies claim to have been successful in breaking the cartels, broad-basing the trade by facilitating the entry of new players of even modest means, establishing a transparent system of allotment of retail outlets and plugging the leakages, the Statement said.
The government is now aiming to cross the benchmark of Rs 10,000 crore with the successful implementation of the Excise Policy- 2022-23. In the last two years, 100 per cent of the license fee at which the retail vends were allotted has been recovered by the state government.
To ensure the safety of staff and customers, it will be compulsory for all retail vends in urban areas, taverns and wholesale licensees to install fire-fighting equipment. The CCTV Cameras shall also be installed in all of the shops/warehouses.