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Excise revenue collection up after new tax regime

Excise revenue collection up after new tax regime
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Kolkata: Receiving an overwhelming response, the state witnessed a considerable increase in the excise revenue collection in the first month of initiating the new taxation policy.

The state witnessed excise revenue collection of Rs 1,026 crore in the month of November compared to that of usual Rs 900 crore in a month in the pre-Covid period. It was the first month since the new excise taxation system was introduced for retailers procuring Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and "bottled-in-origin" (BIO) or imported liquor from the warehouses of the state's sole liquor distributor West Bengal State Beverages Corporation (Bevco). The new taxation system turned smaller (180 ml) IMFL bottles cheaper while the bigger ones like 750 ml became dearer. The cost of BIOs had also dropped.

All segments of beer in Bengal became one of the cheapest with a separate new taxation pattern introduced for it in the beginning of October itself.

A senior state government official said: "The revenue generation in the month of November went up to Rs 1,026 crore. Usually, Rs 1,000 crore mark is crossed in the months of festival as it happens in October almost every year. Or else, it revolves around Rs 900 to Rs 950 crore per month in the pre-Covid period." The revenue had nosedived to around Rs 350 crore to Rs 400 crore in May and June after liquor shops had reopened on May 4 since the advent of Covid. Though the revenue generation has gone up in the first months, officials of the excise directorate would assess the outcome of the next few months before coming to the final conclusion about the success of the new taxation policy. The state government had allowed home delivery of liquor to avoid gatherings at shops to ensure maintenance of physical distancing. Later, the decision was taken to continue with the facility. It is yet to gain popularity in the state with a monthly turnover of around Rs 10 to Rs 12 crore taking place in a month through home delivery. But the state government will continue with it considering it as an alternate facility for a section of people who do not prefer to visit liquor shops. "As the initial agreement with the e-commerce providers was for six months, it is going to be over on different dates in December. But the same will be extended till March 31. It will help in proper regularisation of the system for an entire fiscal from April 1 in 2021," the official said.

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