Chandigarh’s excise policy FY23; Check out 22 key changes for liquors

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The Chandigarh government has approved a new Excise Policy for financial 2022-23 in the state. The new policy is aimed at balancing the aspirations of consumers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and the government. Major developments have been announced for retail vends, clubs, restaurants, hotels, and bars, right from extension in time for operating, additional license fees to penalty, and basic quota.

Here are the key highlights of the Excise Policy for 2022-23:

1. To curb spurious liquor, pilfer-proof seals are made mandatory in Country Liquor bottles.

2. The government introduces 65 degree proof of Country Liquor apart from the existing 50 degree proof and 60 degree proof. This is seen to increase choice for the consumers and make better quality Country Liquor available.

3. Only 50% of the basic quota of Country Liquor will be distributed equally amongst the Bottling Plants, and 50% of the basic quota will be kept open. Furthermore, an additional quota will also be kept open. This will increase the choice of the Retail vends to obtain supplies as per their choice of bottling plant and brand.

4. Overall, the basic quota has been reasonably hiked by 13.4% as per consultation with stakeholders.

5. Imported Ready to Drink (RTD) has also been allowed for sale in U.T. Chandigarh.

6. Allotment of retail vends of liquor will be made through the e-tendering system for more transparency.

7. Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) has been reduced for better participation in the bids.

8. Online facility for issuance of permits/ passes and applying for various Excise Licenses has been introduced to facilitate stakeholders.

9. The government makes computerized billing mandatory and is set to be introduced by October 01, 2022. A penalty of 5,000 is also introduced on the non-issuance of receipt.

10. Further, the facility of a 2-hour extension in closure times (i.e. up to 3 am) is now given to restaurants, bars, and hotels on payment of additional license fees.

11. Round-the-clock service of liquor is also allowed in 3 star & 4-star hotels on payment of additional license fees.

12. Notably, the Covid rebate (i.e. pro-rate reversal of license fees) as given in the last year will continue for all retail vends, bars, restaurants, hotels, clubs, etc.

13. For non-maintenance of the minimum retail sale price by liquor vends, the government has introduced a stringent penalty. The new policy directs that vends be sealed for 3 days on the first violation itself.

14. Track and Trace system is set to be unveiled during this policy year for tackling the illegal sale of liquor.

15. A fine of 50,000 has been introduced for the sale of expired liquor by retail vends.

16. Also, the policy directs to introduce CCTV cameras in all retail vends by May 1, 2022.

17. In pursuance of the E-Vehicle Policy of Chandigarh Administration, the government introduces E-Vehicle Cess which will be levied per Bottle varying from 2 to 40.

18. Excise duties have been increased by approximately 5.5%.

19. Minimum retail sale price has also been hiked reasonably in the range of 5% to 10% considering input costs and taxes.

20. For promoting low alcoholic drinks, license fees and duties have not been increased on Beer, Wine, RTD, etc.

21. Under the policy, considering the request of Hotels & Restaurant Associations and to give them support, their license fee has been kept unchanged.

22. For ensuring the availability of more variety and brands, the registration fee for label/brand has been kept the same.

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