Shimla: The State Cabinet has approved the excise policy for the financial year 2022-23. The new policy envisages the collection of Rs. 2,131 crore revenue during the year, which will be Rs. 264 crore higher than the financial year 2021-22.

The cabinet also gave its nod for the renewal of retail excise vends in the state for the financial year 2022-23 at the renewal fees of 4% of the value of unit/vend. The objective is to gain adequate enhancement in government revenue and curb the smuggling of country liquor from the neighbouring states by a reduction in its price. It’s expected to reduce the prices of liquor.

In the new excise policy, the 15 per cent fixed quota of country liquor for manufacturers and bottlers to be supplied to the retail licensees has been abolished. The MRP of country liquor will be cheaper by 16 per cent of the existing price.

The Cabinet also increase the Gaudhan Vikas Nidhi Fund by Rs. 1 from the existing Rs.1.50 to Rs. 2.50. following the reduction in Covid-19 cases, Cabinet has also reduced Covid cess by 50 per cent.

The Cabinet has also abolished the fixed annual license fee of Bars and now there will be uniform license slabs based upon the room capacity in hotels.

Keeping in view recent irregularities detected by the department in liquor bottling plants, wholesale vends and retail vends, the penalty provisions under the H.P. Excise Act, 2011 have been made more stringent.

An effective end to end online Excise Administration System shall be set up in the State which shall include the facility of track and trace of liquor bottles besides other modules for real-time monitoring.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.