BENGALURU: Revenue collection continues to look up, with the state Excise department achieving 68.19 per cent of budget estimates for the April to November period in the current fiscal 2021-22, compared to the corresponding period in 2020-21, during which the department had secured 62.41 per cent of the budget estimate for the last financial year.
Beer sales, which till recently were sluggish, reported a comeback largely because of easing of Covid-19 restrictions and lifting of night curfew. There is a 23 per cent growth in sale of beer and 19.51 per cent increase in sale of Indian Made Liquor (IML) in comparison to last year.
“There is a Rs 2,594.48 crore increase in revenue this year in comparison to the previous year,” said
official sources. There are, however, concerns in the Food & Beverage industry regarding possibility of renewed restrictions, with the first two Omicron variant cases being detected in Bengaluru.
“Variants of SARS-CoV-2 will keep coming. We need to be cautious and take maximum precaution, but this does not mean that we go under lockdown each time a variant surfaces. The first thing the government would do is close bars and restaurants,” said the co-chapter head of National Restaurant Association of India Amit Roy.
He added that excise licencees will appeal to the government against the three-day closure on December 9, 10 and 14 because of MLC elections. “December is the only month we are hoping to do some business. We have to pay the second instalment of excise licence fee (of around Rs 5.5 lakh for CL9 and retail vend of beer) by the end of this month,” he added.
“Just as we were beginning to see increase in footfall and looking forward to Christmas and New Year, the news (of Omicron) has come as a big worry. We cannot afford yet another round of restrictions and curbs. Many of us will not be able to sustain if we miss out on December business,” said the owner of a popular restobar.