Delhi government’s proposed excise policy is set to bring cheer to many as it will reduce the number of ‘dry days’ in the capital, lower the drinking age of foreigners and allow restaurants to serve alcohol in open spaces. Now comes the bad part. The policy will also make licence fee for pubs and clubs costlier. The cost of a permit to serve alcohol at a private party is also likely to increase. According to an Indian Express report, To make availability of liquor easier and plug loopholes in the system, the department has proposed that restaurants which procure alcohol from wholesale vendors will be allowed to get it from any of the two nearest retail outlets, on payment of 20 per cent extra excise duty. These restaurants will be granted a temporary permit for doing so.
The government also wants to increase the cost of a P10 permit, needed to serve alcohol at a private party at a banquet or a farmhouse, to Rs 15,000. Permission from the mohalla sabha concerned will be mandatory for setting up a liquor shop in any area. The government has also proposed that the power to grant licences to eateries be taken away from Delhi Police and given to its food and supplies department. Welcoming the proposed ‘liberalisation’ of excise policy, Riyaaz Amlani, president of National Restaurant Association of India, said, “We spoke to government officials… we are satisfied with the proposed measures but a lot more needs to be done.”
The restriction on setting up liquor shops near major educational institutes, religious places and hospitals may also be lifted for “restaurants in air-conditioned shopping malls”. The measures are aimed at generating more revenue for the Delhi government, said senior officials. “We need revenue for the development of the city, and increasing the licence fee will help us earn more revenue.