Excise department sees revenue jump of ₹2,122 crore in Q1

Liquor shops were allowed to open for only four hours during early phases of lockdown in April and May

The second wave of COVID-19 has made recovery tougher for many sectors of the economy, but not the excise sector.

Karnataka’s Excise Department has recorded higher revenue of ₹2,122.90 crore in the first quarter of this financial year (2021-22) compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.

The department’s collections during April-June 2021 was ₹5,954.07 crore against ₹3,831.17 crore during the same period in 2020.

Higher collections came in the wake of a reasonable jump in sale of both beer and Indian Made Liquor (IML) as liquor shops were allowed to open for four hours during early phases of the lockdown in April and May, and later for longer hours.

Though the liquor industry is against comparison of sale figures to that of last year’s since liquor shops were closed in April 2020, revenue figures indicate a steady recovery of the sector.

The figures for IML show that sales increased to 154.19 lakh cartons in the first quarter in 2021 from 100.76 lakh cartons in April-June 2020, an increase of 53.43%.

The sale of beer increased to 45.38 lakh cartons in April-June 2021 against 33.83 lakh cartons during the same period in 2020, an increase of 11.55%.

Industry sources said that the figure has not increased significantly since sale was allowed only during a fixed period of the day (6 a.m. to 10 a.m.) in the early phase of the lockdown and weekend curfew. This was also because of different categories of consumers of IML and beer.

The sale of liquor is expected to increase sharply in the coming months as the Karnataka government is expected to ease most of the restrictions on bars, pubs and restaurants after July 5. Now all outlets are allowed to accept orders only for takeaway.

The Karnataka budget has increased the excise revenue target from ₹22,700 crore in 2020-21 to ₹24,580 crore in 2021-22.

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