GUWAHATI: Liquor and wine prices will go up by 10-15 per cent in the state. It is the fallout of the November 24 Cabinet decision at Bongaigaon to hike excise duty. The tax will be higher for costly liquor.
Excise revenue comprises the bulk of the State Government's revenue earnings. In fiscal 2001-02, the State government earned Rs 148-crore excise revenue against Rs 2,033 crore in 2020-21. In this fiscal, the department has set a target of Rs 2,400-crore excise revenue collection.
Official sources say that the State Government did not issue licences for liquor and wine shops after 2001. It, however, issued licences for bars during that period. Now the State Government has decided to issue licences for wine shops at a few locations.
The state has 1,234 liquor and wine shops, 318 in Guwahati alone. The number of bars in the state is 996.
With the hike in liquor and wine prices in Assam, naturally, people from the state will rush to the wine shops in the bordering areas of the neighbouring states. It will make excise revenue drainage to the neighbouring states from Assam.
To plug such excise revenue loopholes, Assam and Meghalaya have decided to hike wine prices simultaneously. Dispur will hold such talks with Arunachal Pradesh as well.
Plugging loopholes or revenue leakages has led to the rise in excise revenue earnings in the state.