Shimla: Aiming to enhance government revenue, the State Cabinet accorded on Monday approved a new Excise Policy for the year 2023-24.

The Cabinet gave approval for the auction-cum-tender of retail excise vends in the state for the year 2023-24 with an objective to gain adequate enhancement in Government revenue, reduction in the price of liquor and curb its smuggling from the neighbouring States.

It decided to introduce keg draught beer in retail vends with a capacity of 5 litres. Customers would be benefited from this as more varieties of beer will be available to them. Bottling of imported wine in the wineries of the State has been allowed, which would ensure that bestselling high-range wine brands, will now be easily available to customers.

In order to facilitate the horticulturists and to boost the economy, it has been decided to introduce a new category of liquor obtained by fermentation of fruits and their distillation or by blending. 

In order to boost tourism, it has been decided that the L-3, L-4, and L-5, license holders shall be allowed to have mini bars for occupants in all rooms of 3-star rated hotels and above.

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.

The Policy has been framed taking into account all stakeholders which include government, consumers, retailers, wholesalers, bottling plants, distilleries and hotels and bars. All sections were engaged by the department in taking feedback based on which these decisions have been undertaken.

The Cabinet also decided to introduce Himachal Pradesh Water Cess on Hydropower Generation Bill, 2023 in the coming Vidhan Sabha session and implement The Himachal Pradesh Water Cess on Hydropower Generation Ordinance, 2023 with effect from 10th March 2023.       

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