Delhi new excise policy lowers drinking age to 21, only 3 dry days
Ambrosia|March 2021
• Bars and pubs to be open till 3 a.m • Steep hike in license fee from ₹8 lakhs to ₹75 lakhs • State excise revenues to increase by nearly ₹2,000 crores
R.Chandrakanth

The Delhi Government on March 22, 2021 came out with a new excise policy which is expected to bring about radical changes in the sale and consumption of liquor in the national capital. The headline grabbing announcement has been the government’s decision to lower the drinking age from 25 to 21; keeping bars and pubs open till 3 a.m and bringing down the number of dry days from 21 to 3, all of which are expected to shore up excise revenues from ₹ 5,068.7 crores to ₹ 7,651 crores.

The government’s decision to rework the policy was necessary as the 2009 excise policy seemed outdated and the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) had taken away a chunk from the state government’s excise kitty.

The Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia said another important decision taken is that the Delhi government will not run any liquor outlet. Presently, about 40% of the 850 odd outlets in the capital are privately run, the remaining by government. The state-run outlets were indulging in ‘brand pushing’ and there was pilferage in revenues, thus affecting the coffers. This year, the government will also not give licence for opening any new liquor retail outlets, while it will shut down those which are running without licence.

2,000 illegal outlets in the capital

The Deputy Chief Minister said the liquor mafia needed to be checked and mentioned that while the government had approved 850 liquor stores, the liquor mafia has been running about 2,000 illegal outlets and with impunity over the years. “In the last two years, over 7 lakh illegal liquor bottles have been seized, 1939 people arrested.” There was a skewed distribution network – 20% of the areas in the city are over-served, while 58% are under-served, giving room for the liquor mafia to rule.

Diageo welcomes progressive excise policy

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