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Getting that high just got a bit costlier, liquor prices to go up in Karnataka

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BENGALURU:Here is bad news for those who consume alcohol. Now, you will have to shell out more money if you plan to get drunk and make merry.Alcohol prices are likely to go up as the state government has increased the excise duty by 8 per cent in the budget.

The state, in this financial year, failed to meet the target revenue by a margin of Rs 3,458 crore. It was expecting a revenue of Rs 18,050 crore but eventually could get only Rs 14,572 crore by the end of January as more than three thousand wine/bars were closed. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that more than 3,000 excise licences were affected and closed following the Supreme Court orders to close down the bars and wine stores on National Highways. The hike is applicable to all the Indian Made Liquors, and not to the imported.

However, the wine and bar merchants say that the imported liquor is less than a percent consumed which will not make any difference. According to the excise department officials, in 2016-17, 83.40 per cent of their revenue is generated by the sale of Indian Made Liquor, 12.30 per cent in Beer sale, 3.54 per cent through license fee and .76 by other means.

State is expecting Rs 18,750 crore revenue from the excise in the financial year 2018-19.National Restaurant Association of India’s (NRAI) Bengaluru Branch head Manu Chandra said that the business has definitely been affected.The government should issue new licence to establish wines and bars after the closure down of more than 3,000 thousand wine/bars which were located on national highways.

Govindaraj Hegde, secretary of Karnataka Wine Merchants Association said that the consumer as well as the bar and wine stores owners will be largely affected. “If the prices of alcohol are increased, needless to say, many would opt to buy cheaper alcohol or even spurious drinks. Already the sale of alcohol in the state has come down for the bar and wine owners as MSIL shops are mushrooming. We have been forced to buy liquors by the state which expects huge revenue from this industry,” he said.

The Excise Revenue in the State has seen a tremendous rise from Rs 7.11 crores during the financial year 1967-68 to 18,050 crore during 2017-18 (till January). According to chief minister, the 18 per cent of Karnataka’s revenue is estimated to be generated by excise duties for the financial year 2018-19.

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