Monday 06 April 2020

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Economy | Industry

Cash-starved Goa hikes top booze brands

 

High quality brands of hard liquor and beer, especially the ones imported from outside Goa, would now cost more for any tourist visiting the coastal state, as the season is just beginning.

As a first step towards arresting the resource crunch the tourist state is presently facing, chief minister Dr Wilfred de Souza has hiked excise duty on Indian Made Foreign Liquor and beer imported from outside the state.

The local liquor manufacturers are however exempted, amidst controversy.

The hike is Rs five per proof litre each on both kind of liquor, in addition to Rs 35 per proof litre presently charged for the IMFL and Rs nine per proof litre for the beer brands imported here. The hike may accrue around Rs one crore additional revenue for the government.

The Bharatiya Janata party, supporting de Souza's coalition government from outside, however has termed the hike a scandalous act on the part of the chief minister. "He is protecting the local liquor lobby in a manipulative manner", alleges Manohar Parrikar, the BJP leader.

According to him, the local liquor manufacturers are already exempted from 24 per cent of sales tax under the tax holiday scheme while the imported liquor is priced after charging the same amount of sales tax in the tourist state. The additional hike only on imported liquor is unwarranted in such a situation, he feels.

Goa manufactures around 3.50 crore bulk litre of IMFL and beer, compared to hardly around 26 lakh bulk litre of IMFL and beer imported from outside the state, which is around seven per cent of the total liquor of this kind sold in Goa.

However, the excise duty collection on local liquor is normally around Rs 11 crore, while the duty collection from the imported liquor brands is almost Rs five crore, which is around 45 per cent of the total duty collection on IMFL and beer sold in the tourist state.

Countering Parrikar's argument, de Souza claims it was necessary to plug the loopholes and curb the liquor smuggling and duplication. But the BJP legislator feels the hike would boost the illegal activity further with more duplicate brands of imported liquor being sold in the market.

The chief minister however supports BJP's suggestion to review the tax holiday concession granted to the local liquor manufacturers, but does not give any firm assurance in this regard. However, he justifies his action to promote local liquor industry, which would also generate local employment.

No steps however have been mooted by the state authorities to check duplication of popular high quality brands if liquor those are sold to the tourists here.






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