Latest News | First Time Ever, Punjab Excise Collection Crosses Rs 4,000 Cr in 6 Months: Finance Minister Harpal Cheema | LatestLY
Chandigarh, Oct 13 (PTI) Punjab Finance and Excise and Taxation Minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Thursday said the state’s excise collection crossed the Rs 4,000 crore mark within the initial six months of a financial year for the first time.
The minister said here that the excise revenue collection during the current fiscal year registered an increase of 37.62 per cent over the last year’s figures for the same period.
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He said that during the year 2021 and 2022, the excise revenue collection from April 1 to October 12 was Rs 3,110 crore and Rs 4,280 crore respectively. He said that the people of Punjab deserve congratulations for the fact that their government has recorded an increase of Rs 1,170 crore in excise revenue during this period.
Slamming the previous state governments for not making adequate changes in the excise policy “due to their collusion with the liquor mafia”, the Finance Minister alleged that these governments facilitated the liquor mafia in the loot of more than Rs 22,500 crore from the state exchequer “if we assume only 7 per cent increase in excise collection every year for the last 15 years against the present growth of more than 37 per cent”.
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The finance minister alleged that the lobby of the liquor mafia was trying to harass our officers through the Union government to break this policy.
He said that Bhagwant Mann-led regime was delivering a transparent administration and firmly stands with its officers to fail the “pressure mounting tactics being used by the Centre through its various agencies”.
He said that opposition parties in state were also questioning the Punjab government’s excise policy allegedly under the pressure of the liquor mafia. He challenged them to answer why there was no adequate increase in excise collection during their governments.
Notably, earlier this year, SAD had alleged AAP government in Punjab framed the “tailor-made” excise policy in line with the one in Delhi which has been found “illegal” and is under the CBI scanner.
The Congress had also sought a probe by the CBI into the state’s excise policy, alleging that it was “tailor made” to select a few contractors.
Cheema said that the intentions of the government led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann were clear from the fact that it has set a target of Rs 9,000 crore excise collection while the previous government’s target was only Rs 6,200 crore.
Cheema while dedicating the healthy growth of 37 per cent to the new Excise policy, said that the Excise Policy 2022-23 has ushered a paradigm shift in the liquor trade in Punjab.
“The main twin objectives of the Excise Policy are maximization of revenue and providing affordable quality liquor to citizens. The policy also strives to keep a stringent check over smuggling of liquor from the neighbouring states through extensive enforcement and by incorporating new technological measures”, said the Finance Minister.
The Minister said that the actual potential of liquor trade had been assessed by allotting the retail groups through a free, fair and transparent manner of e-tendering.
Detailing the initiatives taken to ensure the availability of liquor at most competitive price in the state, Harpal Singh Cheema said that the duty regime has been further liberalized and Minimum Retail Sale Prices of Punjab Medium Liquor (PML), IMFL, IFL, and beer have been factored in the new Excise Policy.
The Finance Minister said that the lower prices of liquor as compared to neighbouring states and increased enforcement has led to a huge decrease in the smuggling of liquor in Punjab.
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