BENGALURU: There's good news for Karnataka’s liquor industry after a long dry and dreary spell. In an unprecedented move to support the ailing industry, the government is reportedly “considering a 10 per cent cut in the excise licence fee and will allow payment in two instalments,” top sources told The New Indian Express. “Liquor industry representatives have petitioned the government multiple times to support them and allow concessions in licence fee to help them clear mounting dues and reboot business. The government is considering a 10 per cent cut in the licence fee and payment in two instalments,” the officer said. The excise fee in Karnataka is paid annually in advance before June 1.
For pubs and bars (CL9 licencees) the fee ranges from Rs 4 to Rs 7.5 lakh depending upon the population of the area, plus the additional excise duty of 15 per cent on the licence fee. In all, the fee comes up to around Rs 10 lakh. For retail liquor stores (CL2 licencees) the fee ranges between Rs 4 lakh to Rs 6 lakh. For microbreweries, it is Rs 2 lakh along with which they have to pay for 50 per cent of their installed capacity in advance to the government.
If a microbrewery has a capacity of two lakh litres of craft beer, they have to pay the government an advance tax on one lakh litres at the rate of Rs 35 per bulk litre. “We pay Rs 50 lakh every year in licence fees and advance tax. It’s a huge amount to pay, when there’s been no business for two months and there is no hope in the coming days,” said a pub owner. While requesting a support policy, liquor industry representatives had suggested the excise department credit their license fee (2019-20) for two months (March to May) to their accounts and rework their fee schedule for 2020-21.