The Delhi government released the new Excise Department Regulation 2021-22 on Monday. The regulations state that the government will no longer sell liquor through its subsidiaries, in order to increase revenues, the Delhi Consumer's Cooperative Wholesale Store Ltd (DCCWS) and the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC). Existing retail vending licenses are valid until September 30.
Why a new policy?
The AAP government has introduced these new rules, describing the previous liquor policy as "archaic" and "cumbersome." The new policy intends to make significant improvements to the city's liquor sector, correct wrongdoings, and improve the user experience.
A large number of revenues were lost by the excise department due to their previous policy. Excise is mentioned as an essential source of revenue in the new policy paper, but it is noted that current excise revenue generation is sub-optimal. There is a big problem with smuggling alcohol into Delhi. This is mainly due to the fact that booze is cheaper in states like Punjab, Rajasthan, and Harayana as compared to prices in Delhi NCR.
What are the new rules?
There’s now a way for you to get your alcohol at cheaper prices. Customers can walk into alcohol stores, get discounts on MRP, this was something that was not allowed previously. Shop owners were not allowed to give discounts nor were they allowed to function post 1 a.m.
According to the policy document, the pricing of liquor brands would be determined after receiving input from retail establishments and taking into account the price of the product in adjacent states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Rajasthan. This will be done in order to make alcohol more accessible and cheaper, which will finally increase revenue.
The ultra-premium alcohol shops can only offer products that cost more than Rs. 200 MRP for beer and more than Rs. 1,000 retail price for all other spirits, such as Whiskey, Gin, Vodka, Brandy, and so on. So it might not be the best idea to go to a super fancy store if you’re on a budget.
Party till the morning!
The new policy allows Bars, hotels, clubs, and restaurants to be open till 3 a.m. now! Previously, except for licensees that have been granted a license to provide round-the-clock service of alcohol, no one was allowed to operate after 1 a.m.
Everyone who was hoping for changes in the legal drinking age in Delhi, the government only has bad news for you. The excise duty policy made no mention of lowering the legal drinking age from 25 to 21. No decision has been made on changes in the drinking age, even though Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, proposed a reduction in the drinking age.
The issue, which includes limiting the number of dry days, would be discussed separately in a special session of the Delhi Assembly, according to senior government officials.
For the beer lovers
If you love beer but are low-key over Kingfisher and Bira, these new legislations allow microbreweries to offer draught beer to bars and pubs as well as provide takeaway services. So you can now enjoy artisanal beer sitting right at home!
“Wherever draught beer is being served as a takeaway, clear signage and information will be needed to put up about its short shelf life and the bottles will have to mention the expiry date clearly,” the policy document said.
Delhi residents will be able to fill their bottles or 'growlers' with freshly brewed beer from any of the city's microbreweries.
Onto some technical things
While these aspects of the rules might not be as fascinating, they just might come in handy if you wanna throw a huge party once COVID is done!
On payment of a one-time annual fee, the government has also created a new license L-38 for banquet halls, party places, farmhouses, motels, wedding/party/event venues that allow them to serve Indian and foreign liquor at any parties conducted at their premises. Previously, such enterprises had to get a temporary license in the form of a P-10, P-10A, P-11, or P-13 in order to host parties and gatherings.
The one-time P10 license for hosting in-house parties has been increased from 5,000 to 10,000, a permit that is widely used by the general public to serve alcohol at private parties held at home or at any other non-licensed location.
The city's 272 municipal wards have been divided into 30 zones, according to the policy. Each zone, which will have nine to ten wards, will contain a maximum of 27 vends, with three retail vend on average in each ward. A vend is an establishment that offers small items for sale, either from a stall or from a slot machine. Every zone's licensee will be required to run at least two vending machines in each ward. The total number of vends will stay at 849, but they will be dispersed more evenly.
In the NDMC and Delhi Cantonment districts, there will be 29 vending machines, while at the airport, there will be ten retail vending machines. The airport's stores will be able to operate 24 hours a day. “Every vend shall provide a walk-in experience and be designed accordingly."
According to the new policy, glass doors will be installed on air-conditioned retail vending machines. Customers will be able to stroll into any liquor store in the city and choose from a variety of brands, with the entire selection and sale process taking place within the vending premise.
What does the government have to gain from this?
According to Livemint, the government is attempting to depart the retail liquor trade with the new policy, which will result in the closure of state-run stores. The government of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) wants to boost private business players. The Delhi government anticipates its revenue to increase by 20% in a year as a result of the new policy.