New fee structure may boost excise department's revenue
September, 07th 2009
The excise department's move to rationalize the licensing fee structure for foreign liquor, and other simplifications in the fee structures, is expected to give a big boost to the state's excise revenue.
The excise department's decision to reduce processing fees for foreign liquor is already eliciting good response from commercial establishments that were earlier suspected to be selling foreign liquor clandestinely.
Commissioner for excise Sandip Jacques told TOI that earlier the processing fee for grant of license for foreign liquor was Rs 20,000. The high fee was deterring commercial establishments from officially acquiring licenses but they were still selling foreign liquor clandestinely.
Jacques said that there are over 7000 bars and restaurants in Goa. Besides, there are around 2000 packed bottle outlets (retailers). Yet the number of foreign liquor license holders is negligible. For example, there are over 100 B category hotels in Goa, of which only 12 have licenses for sale of foreign liquor.
Jacques said, "Considering all this, we felt the need to rationalize the processing fees so as to encourage them to apply for licenses. If they sell foreign liquor clandestinely, it will only cause losses to the state exchequer."
The excise department has therefore reduced the processing fee for grant of license for sale of foreign liquor from Rs 20,000 to only Rs 2000. This is just an add-on license for the people who already possess licenses for Indian-made-foreign-liquor (IMFL) and for country liquor (CL).
They just need to make a simple application to the excise commissioner through the excise inspector with a copy of the license of IMFL/CL and a challan of Rs 2000. These applications are then processed within a day or two and the licenses are issued almost immediately, Jacques said.
The move has already started paying rich dividends. The excise department has processed about 30 new applications for foreign liquor despite it being the tourist off-season.
Earlier, bars and restaurants in certain coastal villages were paying only Rs 2000 as license fee, whereas bars in other coastal villages were paying Rs 7000. The excise department has now brought bars in all coastal villages on par and they will henceforth pay license fees of Rs 7000.
Likewise, the license processing fee for casinos, which was Rs 25,000 for sale of liquor on vessels, has now been raised to Rs 10 lakh. Also, the annual license fees for casinos have been raised by almost 100%. The annual license fees on other entertainment vessels like Santa Monica have been raised from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000.
For keeping licenses premises open beyond 11pm, but not exceeding 5am, the earlier fee was Rs 30,000. This has now been reduced to Rs 10,000. And for the full tourist season from October to May, the fee has been reduced from Rs 75,000 to a mere Rs 20,000. Shacks on the other hand can be open beyond the prescribed timings by paying 100% of the license fee. Shacks are allowed to remain open till 2am.
Jacques said, "With this kind of simplification, I expect everyone to take licenses, operate legally, and contribute to our revenue. But despite the simplification, our enforcement will be strict."
The excise commissioner said that all these changes are revenue-generating proposals as envisaged in the last budget speech of the government. He said that strict monitoring is being done taluka-wise to ensure proper implementation of the proposals made in the budget speech and reviews are being made every 15 days.
Jacques said that despite the recession and market slowdown, excise revenue from April to August 2009 had already touched Rs 31.60 crore, which is Rs 2.52 crore more than the revenue earned for the same period last year -- Rs 29.08 crore. In the last financial year 2008-09, the excise revenue was Rs 88.7 crore. This year, the excise department has a target of Rs 88 crore, but with the new changes and simplifications the department is projecting revenue of around Rs 95 crore, Jacques said.