A recent order from the Uttar Pradesh government's excise department that calls for a licence to store alcohol at home beyond already permissible limits has generated controversy, with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath issuing a clarification in the matter.
"We cannot forcefully impose something but whatever will be in the interest of the state we will take those steps," the UP Chief Minister was quoted as saying by news agency PTI, adding that introducing a licence will "check liquor smuggling and is in overall interest of the state".
Most Indian states have pre-existing excise policies that define how much alcohol one can store at home, with some states charging for a personal licence to increase this limit. In Uttar Pradesh, as per PTI, this limit has been set at 6 litres of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and imported liquor.
No individual in the state can buy, transport or store more than 6 litres of alcohol at home. To exceed this limit, a licence is a must, reads an order issued by the Uttar Pradesh Excise Department as per the new policy.
The licence fee has been set at Rs12,000 per year besides a Rs51,000 security amount, all of which has to be paid online, it adds. The permit will be valid for one year and will need to be renewed with updated paperwork.
"The licence will only be issued for the applicant's primary residence where they live with family, and not for farmhouse or guest house... document certifying ownership of property or rent agreement will have to be submitted," the order states.
According to the order, the applicant must also submit "self-attested income tax return forms of past 5 years". They must also be a tax payee in the "20 per cent" bracket for last three of the five years.
Submission of self-attested Aadhaar and PAN card copies are also a must.
The applicant will also have to provide an affidavit stating: Those "unauthorised" to live in this house or under 21 years of age (legal permissible limit for alcohol consumption in UP) will be prevented from entering.
"The applicant will not store any illegal liquor or substance other than the ones allowed for sale and consumption in UP," it adds.
Violation will result in legal and penal action, the order says.