BENGALURU: The Karnataka excise department is planning to send its officials to various states to study the feasibility of online liquor sale, and is also check the pros and cons. Earlier, the Congress-JDS alliance government had plans to introduce online delivery of liquor, but dropped the proposal after it ran into opposition. But now the government seems inclined to introduce online sales to avoid crowding at liquor outlets, with a sharp spike in Covid-19 positive cases.
Even while there is resistance from the Opposition, Excise Minister H Nagesh seems to be keen on implementing online sale of liquor. He told The New Indian Express that the government is checking all possibilities to introduce online liquor sale. “Many states, including Kerala, Maharashtra and Jharkhand have started online sales. We will send our officials to study the pros and cons. We want to check the success rates in those states,” he said.
A senior excise official, on condition of anonymity, said this year’s tax target is Rs 22,700 crore. Since the lockdown was imposed through April and part of May, the department is lagging on its target. Online sales might help them reach this financial year’s target, he added.
Department data shows that the quantity of liquor sale has come down. One of the reasons is that pubs and restaurants are not allowed to serve liquor, as per home ministry guidelines. Since the first week of May till July-end, 235.46 lakh carton boxes were sold as against 191.16 lakh carton boxes in 2019, in the same duration.
Starting April 1, the State government increased additional excise duty (AED) on liquor sale, giving a boost to revenue. Sales in three months touched Rs 7117.42 crore as against Rs 6825.52 crore last year, at least Rs 291 crore more than last year.