BENGALURU: With revenue-sapped states keen on pushing alcohol sales, e-commerce firms are playing to the gallery by foraying into liquor delivery. After online food delivery majors, Swiggy and Zomato announced alcohol home delivery service in Jharkhand and Odisha in May, now Amazon and Alibaba- backed BigBasket have joined the bandwagon. Both the firms are reportedly foraying into alcohol delivery in West Bengal after receiving regulatory approvals from the West Bengal State Beverages Corporation, the authorised agency mandated for the online liquor sale in the state.
Although the emailed queries sent to both Amazon and BigBasket did not illicit any response, the nodal agency in West Bengal has already furnished a list of companies authorised to carry our delivery of alcohol and includes both Amazon and BigBasket. E-tailers are eyeing this space at a time when the state governments are also keen on pushing the liquor sales as the excise duties from alcohol sale contributes significantly to the overall tax revenue.
After the re-opening of liquor stores across the country, shops have witnessed huge spike in sales, which led to the respective state governments imposing higher duties on alcohol to rev up revenue. In states like Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, the alcohol sales post lockdown have infact contributed more than 20 per cent of the total tax revenues of each of these state, according to a Fitch report. The report mentioned that among states’ own tax earnings, the state excise (mainly liquor) is the third-largest contributor for tax revenue apart from SCGST and VAT.
The states are expecting to earn nearly `2 lakh crore as total tax collection from alcohol sales in 2020-21. The e-commerce firms will subsequently have to work with respective state agencies for complying with the guidelines as well as licensed liquor traders to facilitate a smooth alcohol delivery system.