Revenue Minister Jagat Singh Negi and PWD Minister Vikramaditya Singh have rebuffed the leader of the opposition Jai Ram Thakur’s claims regarding the excise policy of the current state government. They emphasized the need to have accurate information before making such statements and said that the statement of Jai Ram Thakur of 13 percent growth in revenue is completely incorrect, as there is 40 percent revenue growth from the auction of retail liquor vends.
The minister said that if the present government had continued the previous BJP government’s policy of renewing liquor vends with a 10 percent hike, the state would have suffered an annual loss of approximately Rs. 530 Crore. They said that the former Chief Minister should explain why the previous government implemented a policy of renewing liquor vends with a 10 percent hike and what was the bungle in it. Additionally, the people of the state deserve to know who benefitted from this policy during the tenure of the previous government. As BJP, which gave the slogan of a ‘double engine’ government during its tenure, why the state was pushed into the quagmire of debt.
The duo said that the present government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, in the interest of the state, has approved an auction-cum-tender system for excise retail vends. Through this process, the auctioned vends saw a 40 percent increase compared to the previous financial year’s policy, amounting to Rs. 1806 Crore against Rs. 1296 Crore.
They further stated that the auction process concluded in March 2023, with an advance license fee of 10 percent (Rs. 177 crore) to be deposited before April 5th, 2023. However, Rs. 66 crore was already deposited in the government treasury upto March, 2023. As of June 24th, 2023, the total recovery amounted to Rs. 686 crore has been realised compared to Rs. 555 crore in the previous financial year. Additionally, licensees are required to pay a monthly license fee of Rs. 150 crore by the 7th day of the subsequent month. For April and May, 2023, the total license fee due was Rs. 300 crore, but the department has recovered Rs. 366 crore by June 7th, 2023.
Both Ministers said that many substantive initiatives have been taken in the excise policy of the financial year 2023-24 to enhance the government revenue. Licensees are now allowed to lift additional quota beyond the Minimum Guaranteed Quantity (MGQ) with a prescribed license fee, ensuring additional revenue. The annual fixed license fee for wholesale vends has been increased to Rs. 35 lakhs from Rs. 20 lakhs and allows mini bars for occupants in all rooms for license holders L-3, L-4, L-5. The timing of bars has also been extended upto 1:00 a.m. which will increase the facility to consumers and give a boost to the economy.
They said that these efforts have led to an enhancement in GST collection, with the state government receiving Rs. 1225 crore by 24th June, 2023, compared to Rs. 1065 crore last year. This increase in revenue, coupled with the growth of the economy, is expected to create more employment opportunities for the youth.