MUMBAI: Despite speculation that the Supreme Court’s order banning sale of alcohol within 500 metres of highways would lead to revenue loss for the state, the figures released by the Maharashtra excise department presented a very different picture. Data showed that despite the ban leading to a drop in income and in liquor sales, revenue out of the sale has actually increased.
Contrary to the projected revenue loss of Rs 7000 crore, the state excise department has collected over Rs 2,800 crore in the first quarter itself. Data also showed that there was a 6 per cent increase in revenue collection from the Rs 2,640 crore collected in the corresponding quarter last year.
Over 15,500 liquor outlets in the state were affected by the Supreme Court’s decision to ban sale of liquor within 500 meter of the highways. The ban led to around 17 per cent fall in liquor sale in the first quarter of this year over the corresponding quarter last year.
“Considering that about 65 per cent of the liquor establishments have shut after the court order, the drop is much less than what we had expected,” said state excise minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule. In 2016-17, revenue out of the excise department was Rs 12,400 crore and it was expected to increase to Rs 14,000 crore in 2017-18.
The liquor shops and bars along highways were the major contributors to the projection and since the ban, a drop of around 60 percent was being anticipated. Now the officials of the department are attributing the increased revenue to the sale of liquor at shops away from the highways.
Seeing that the excise tax is collected from the manufacturers, the officials were anticipating a drop in production of liquor in Maharashtra after the court implemented the ban. However, the increased revenue indicated that production hasn’t been affected by the decision, said a senior official from the department.