THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Alcohol will become costlier for drinkers in the state with the government deciding to impose an additional 5 per cent cess on liquor.
Addressing a press meet here on Friday, Finance Minister K M Mani said that with the implementation of the new liquor policy the loss to the exchequer will be Rs 1811 crore and the projected drop in annual sales of Bevco is Rs 1010 crore.
“The amount mobilised by imposing cess will be used to rehabilitate the workers who would lose their jobs following the ‘no to liquor’ decision and for the treatment of alcoholics. This will come to about Rs 250 crore,’’ Mani said.
While the revenue forgone from sales tax and excise duty together would together amount to Rs 1,203 crore - Rs 828 crore in sales tax and Rs 375 crore in excise duty - closure of 10 per cent Bevco outlets every year will result in forgoing revenue worth Rs 11.75 crore. The loss in revenue due to forgoing licence fee from 418 bars, which had remained closed, is 92.6 crore and the loss due to refunding the licence fee of 292 bars out of the 312 which are open at present, excluding that attached to five- star hotels, will amount to Rs 39.5 crore.
The licence cancellation of 10 per cent Bevco outlets will cause a loss of Rs 12.28 crore. ‘’The loss due to the new policy is huge but the Finance Department is supporting it as it is meant for social welfare,’’ Mani said.
Mani also said that though there has been proposal to take back the liquor stock at bars that will close down soon, no decision has been taken in this regard.
‘’Resources will have to be found to fund developmental projects while curtailing administrative expenses. There will no lapse in giving festival allowance and other benefits for Onam to employees,’’ Mani said. There was no financial crisis in the state but only difficulty in mobilising fund, he said.
“The decision to impose prohibition on liquor was taken unanimously. There was discussion in the UDF before the Chief Minister announced the decision of a phased ban on liquor.
The statement from some corners that Kerala Congress-M was against the decision to implement liquor ban is baseless as liquor ban is the policy of Kerala Congress-M also. It is only the media that stated that KPCC president V M Sudheeran was shocked when the CM announced the liquor policy,’’ Mani added.