Punjab Imposes COVID Tax On Liquor Amid Lockdown

The Punjab government raised additional excise duty and additional assessed fee on liquor in the range of Rs 2 to Rs 50 depending upon the type of liquor.

Punjab Imposes COVID Tax On Liquor Amid Lockdown

The proceeds of additional levy on alcohol will be used for COVID19-related expenditure. (File)

Chandigarh:

Liquor is going to cost more in Punjab now as the state government today imposed COVID cess on the sale of alcohol due to the ongoing lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Punjab government raised additional excise duty and additional assessed fee on liquor in the range of Rs 2 to Rs 50 depending upon the type of liquor.

The move will help the state mobilise additional revenue of Rs 145 crore in the current fiscal.

"Faced with huge revenue losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and the prolonged lockdown in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh gave the go-ahead to the imposition of COVID Cess on liquor with effect from June 1," an official statement said.

The state is facing a revenue shortfall of Rs 26,000 crore, which is 30 per cent of the total budget revenue estimates, for the financial year 2020-21, necessitating some tough measures to generate additional revenue, the chief minister said.

He accepted the recommendation of the Group of Ministers, which was constituted on May 12, to levy additional excise duty and additional assessed fee on liquor during the current financial year.

The proceeds of the additional levy will be utilised entirely for COVID19-related expenditure, Mr Singh said.

He directed the department of excise and taxation to charge the cess in the current year, at the time of issuance of permits for transportation of liquor from L-1/L-13 (wholesale licenses).

In line with recommendations, the department of excise and taxation decided to impose additional assessed fee on imported foreign liquor and additional excise duty on other types of liquor.