As exchequer dries up, Kerala set to tweak liquor policy with no more dry days

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 22, 2024 IST

Liquor

Thiruvananthapuram, May 22:The Kerala government is getting ready to tweak its liquor policy as its coffers have run dry, like never before.

Kerala defines its liquor policy every year but this new fiscal, due to the Lok Sabha polls' model code of conduct, the policy for 2024-25 was not announced.

A meeting held over the past few days of top bureaucrats chaired by the chief secretary V. Venu, has come out with ways and means to increase the state’s revenues .

With taxes on liquor sales playing a major role in revenue generation, Venu and his team of officials have come up with new ideas to further boost the state’s revenues through liquor.

In the last fiscal the liquor taxes and levies generated a staggering Rs 16,609.63 crores, up from Rs 16,189.55 crores in 2022-23.

Among the suggestions is to lift the dry days in the state.

At present the first day of every calendar month is a dry day, when liquor is not sold at retail shops nor at bar hotels in Kerala.

The dry day concept was introduced by the then A K Antony government in 2003 as a way to reduce liquor consumption.

However, Venu and his team found out that due to this Kerala, which was a hot destination for MICE (meetings, industries, conferences and exhibitions) has lost badly.

The meeting has estimated that if the dry day is lifted, the state could generate an additional Rs 15,000 crores as there would be an all round increase in revenue from tourism and MICE activities.

Another recommendation that might be included in the new policy is to increase production of low priced liquor, production of wine from fruits, besides increasing overall production of liquor in the state as 80 per cent of the liquor sold in Kerala arrives from other states.

The sale of liquor and beer in Kerala during the 2023-24 financial year has touched Rs 19,088.68 crores, up from Rs 18,510.98 crores in 2022-23.

Liquor is sold through 277 retail outlets owned by the Corporation, while the state backed cooperative organization Consumerfed also has 39 retail outlets.

The profile of liquor consumers in Kerala reveals that around 32.9 lakh people out of the 3.34 crore population in the state consume liquor, which includes 29.8 lakh men and 3.1 lakh women.

Around five lakh people consume liquor on a daily basis. Of this, around 83,851 people including 1043 women are addicted to alcohol.

Venu is expected to now present the outcome of his meetings to Excise Minister M.P. Rajesh who will present the report before the weekly cabinet meeting , which is the final authority for clearing the new liquor policy.

 ( IANS) 

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