HP Cabinet approves Excise Policy for 2022-23

Shimla, March 20 : The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet on Sunday gave approval to the Excise policy for the financial year 2022-23, which envisages collection of Rs 2,131 crore revenue during the year, Rs 264 crore higher than the financial year 2021-22. This implies an overall growth of 14 per cent in state Excise revenues. Approval was also given for the renewal of retail excise vends in the state for the financial year 2022-23 at the renewal fees of four per cent of the value of t/vend. The objective was to gain adequate enhancement in government revenue and curb the smuggling of country liquor from the neighboring states by the reduction in its price. The brands of Country Liquor will be cheaper as license fee has been reduced. This will help in providing good quality liquor at a cheaper rate to the consumers and they won’t be tempted towards the purchase of illicit liquor and evasion of duty will also be checked. In the new Excise policy, 15 per cent fixed quota of country liquor for manufacturers and bottlers to be supplied to the retail licensees has been abolished. This step will give the retail licensees to lift their quota from the suppliers of their choice and further assure the supply of good quality country liquor at competitive prices. The MRP of country liquor will be cheaper by 16 per cent of the existing price. In this year’s policy, to provide more funds for the welfare of Gau Vansh, the Gaudhan Vikas Nidhi Fund has been enhanced by Re from existing Rs 1.50 to Rs 2.50. In view of the reduction in Covid-19 cases in the state, the Covid cess has been reduced by 50 per cent of the existing. The fixed annual licence fee of Bars has been rationalised by abolishing the area-specific slabs of license fee. Now throughout the state, there will be form licence slabs, based on the room capacity in hotels. To provide better facilities to the tourists visiting tribal areas and also provide relief to the hotel entrepreneurs, the rates of annual fixed licence fee of Bars in tribal areas have been reduced considerably. In order to monitor the manufacturing and operations of liquor, its dispatch to wholesalers, and subsequent sale to retailers, it has been made mandatory for all the above stakeholders to install CCTV cameras at their establishments. Keeping in view the recent irregularities detected by the department in liquor bottling plants, wholesale and retail vends, the penalty provisions under the HP Excise Act, 2011 have been made more stringent. An effective end-to-end online Excise Administration System shall be set up in the state, which shall include the facility of track and trace of liquor bottles, besides other modules for real-time monitoring. The Cabinet also gave its nod to the HP State Toll Policy for 2022-23, which envisages auction-cum-tender for all toll barriers in the state. During the year 2021-22, toll revenue has registered a growth of 20 per cent of the previous year’s revenue. It gave its nod to amend the Himachal Pradesh Disaster Relief Manual-2012, to include the deaths due to biting of honey bees, hornet and wasps; accidental drowning, and deaths due to accidents of vehicles (including land, water, and air) under this Manual. The Cabinet gave its approval for filling up 11 posts of ‘A’ Class Tehsildar in Revenue Department through direct recruitment on regular basis through the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission. ML RJ

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