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Taxing Time

The state’s new excise coverage could ship a bruising blow to vacationers.

On the rocks, A restro-bar in Jaipur: Photo- PURUSHOTTAM DIWAKAR

Rajasthan’s new excise coverage for 2020-21, which has proposed a large hike in liquor licence charges, has led to quite a lot of glum faces within the state’s resort and tourism trade. The Ashok Gehlot authorities is taking a look at it as a way to tide over the large shortfall within the state’s share in central taxes (estimated to go down by Rs 10,072 crore to Rs 36,039 crore), however together with the 20 per cent hike in liquor costs final yr, the hospitality trade says the brand new coverage will result in one other washout vacationer season.

On one other degree, the brand new excise coverage additionally comes with goal.

(Rs 12,500 crore for 2020-21, up Rs 1,500 crore yr on yr) and penalties (for failing quarterly gross sales targ­ets). Liquor vend homeowners gave a name for a boycott of the open e-auction, forcing the federal government to difficulty commercials on February 24 to encourage bidding. Industry insiders say with liquor in Rajasthan now 40 per cent costlier than, say, neighbouring Haryana, bootlegging and inter-state smuggling are set to rise, whereas sellers will cease issuing payments, which is able to, in flip, hit VAT collections, and inns promoting liquor with out licence will mushroom.

Other peeves of the tourism trade embrace the dearth of permits to promote draught beer and the 30-plus clearances to promote exhausting liquor at eating places. Rajasthan, which shares borders with Punjab, Haryana, UP, MP and Gujarat, has additionally seen a spurt in liquor smuggling prior to now decade. In some areas, bootleggers now ship liquor at residence at half the speed charged on the vends.

Excise officers say they’ve made preparations to make sure that solely bottles bearing barcodes are bought although PoS machines. This, they are saying, will make it powerful for sellers to evade taxes or take pleasure in promoting smuggled liquor. But stakeholders really feel the brand new excise coverage unfairly targets authorized licence holders and demand that had the federal government engaged with them, they may have provided different strategies to mobilise extra revenues.

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