THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In 2016-17, gross sales stood at Rs 12,134.14 crore. The total contribution to the state exchequer from liquor sales in 2016-17 had stood at Rs 10,353.65 crore. In 2017-18 it increased to Rs 11,026.78 crore. This constitutes a hike of Rs 673.13 crore, a seven per cent increase. Sales tax from liquor went up by Rs 457.01 crore and excise duty by Rs 48.93 crore.
To a question in the Assembly on March 28, Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan gave a written reply saying that liquor consumption has not increased due to the government’s policies, but this is only partially true.The sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) --- whisky, brandy, rum, gin, wine and vodka --- went up by 3.11 lakh cases in 2017-18 over the previous fiscal, a two per cent increase. (One case equals twelve 750 ml bottles). Beer sales, on the other hand, dipped by 35.04 lakh cases, a 23 per cent decrease. This could be due to the fact that more bars have reopened prompting a dip in the sale of beer.
Another contributing factor was the government’s decision to increase sales tax on IMFL and beer. The government had hiked the sales tax of IMFL brands costing up to Rs 400 to 200 per cent and brands costing above that to 210 per cent.
The sales tax was 125 per cent and 135 per cent respectively. The tax on beer went up from 70 per cent to 100 per cent. According to the government, 283 bars are currently functioning in the state. Of them, 73 are fresh approvals. In addition to this, 260 outlets of Bevco are also functioning in the state.