Goa has always been the go-to destination for relaxation, spiritual awakening or just having a good time with your friends. Another compelling reason why people visit the beach state is due to the surprisingly cheap rates of liquor - hard to find in other states such as Maharashtra. In fact, most union territories are popular destinations for alcohol enthusiasts as they offer much cheaper prices of alcohol than other states. The main reason for this is the state government’s decision to keep most taxes low, for example, the absence of excise duties in Goa. This is why you can find a beer priced at 30 INR in Goa!
While you may be tempted to bring back suitcases filled with unique types of liquor you found during your trip, it might land you in legal trouble as there are restrictions on how much alcohol you can carry. Rules differ from state to state and mode of transportation, so, it can be a confusing exercise to figure out how to legally carry your favourite alcoholic beverage back to your home. But here is a guide on rules about carrying liquor from Goa and Delhi (two Union Territories with cheap liquor) without giving up your goods to the cops or paying them a hefty bribe. Keep in mind to avoid carrying liquor on trains as it is strictly prohibited by the Indian Railways on the account of alcohol being highly inflammable.
How many bottles can you carry from Goa?
Bus/Car: First and foremost, you need a liquor permit to be able to carry alcohol from Goa while travelling on a bus. Last year, Goa's Chief Minister Pramod Sawant stated that two bottles (one bottle of IMFL liquor and one bottle of local liquor - 750 ml each) of liquor is allowed to be carried out of Goa. Any attempts by a tourist to exceed that limit is usually blocked by excise officials at border check posts.
You can get a permit at a licensed liquor shop which costs around Rs. 10, according to the state government's official website. Make sure that your permit matches the location of your home state or else you could be penalized or nudged into a giving a bribe.
Despite showing a valid liquor permit, sometimes, people have complained of cops asking them to surrender the bottles or pay a bribe. In addition, there have been cases where neighbouring states such as Karnataka and Maharashtra ignore these permits.
The Excise Department of Goa earns close to Rs. 5 lakh per day from these permits which adds up to a whopping Rs. 1.5 crore per month. In an interview with Herald Goa, a wine shop owner from Panjim says, “This is clearly a case of duping tourists coming to Goa and carrying liquor bottles back. This permit is not validated at the Goa border by the neighbouring State’s excise officials. There are also allegations from customers that Goa excise officers themselves do not validate these permits.”
On their official website, Goa Excise presently issues permits to carry liquor for personal consumption to Daman, Diu, Punjab, Rajasthan, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Himachal. However, the Goa government doesn't have a known reciprocal agreement with any of these States on whether they will affirmatively allow liquor to be permitted from Goa.
Flight: Getting back liquor from Goa to your home is relatively easier on a flight. Rules may slightly vary for different domestic airlines but generally, you can carry a maximum of 5 litres of alcohol in your check-in baggage. Also, remember to pack your bottles in a sealed condition as opened bottles are barred on board. Usually, you're not allowed to carry more than 100ml of liquid in your hand baggage in domestic flights. But again, some airlines have minor tweaks in their policies. For example, Indigo allows liquor in your hand baggage when purchased from the Aiport Security Hold Area but it needs to be stored in a transparent re-sealable plastic bag of a maximum capacity of 1 Litre.
How many bottles can you carry from Delhi?
Bus/Car: Since alcohol is cheap in Delhi, many people from neighbouring states such as UP try to transport several bottles across borders. But this is a recipe for disaster as UP government has made it a punishable offence to carry more than one bottle of alcohol from Delhi or any other state. For carrying alcohol from Delhi, the laws are quite confusing and unclear as they are different for every state. So, it might be a good idea to confirm with your local police station what the excise laws are in your state instead of relying on anecdotal advice.
Flight: The rules on carrying alcoholic beverages on flights is more or less the same for every state except dry states. So, yes you can carry 5 litres of alcohol in your check-in baggage in most domestic flights.
Where can you not carry alcohol in India?
While many states allow Indians to enjoy a drink or more at home or at the nearest bar, some state governments have placed a ban on liquor. States including Mizoram, Gujurat, Bihar, Nagaland and Lakshadweep prohibit alcohol consumption, production and sale. So, make sure that you abstain from carrying any alcohol from other states or even imported liquor from international cities to dry states.