Following its decision to charge Covid-cess from liquor sale, the Kerala government has announced its decision on letting open the state-run liquor shops on Thursday, May 14.
However, dates regarding the opening of about 301 liquor shops, including beverages and consumer-fed have not yet been declared.
The government had earlier permitted toddy shops in the state to resume its services. In its new decision, the state has cleared that all 301 liquor outlets in the state will be opened on the same day.
Online booking of liquor considered
As a measure to avoid the overcrowding of tipplers in front of the stalls, the government has decided to take bookings for liquor sales through web portals, said Excise Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan.
"There are 301 liquor vends in the state. We are working out a new scheme to avoid crowding at these vends and also planning for online purchases with payments to be made when people visit the retail outlets to collect their booked liquor," he mentioned. This mode of (online) sale of liquor is a temporary one only," added the Minister.
According to the reports, the IT Department and Kerala Start-Up Mission is finalising an IT firm to develop an online app for the liquor sale.
In addition to this, the state will also allow bars in hotels and inns to open parcel counters to sell their liquor stocks, provided they sell the stocks at its MRP rates only.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had earlier announced its decision on permitting the opening of liquor shops in the country from May 4 and most of the states had seen large throngs disregarding all the norms on social distancing.
Kerala charges Covid-cess
On Wednesday, the state cabinet has announced its decision to charge Covid-cess on alcohol, which is a major source of revenue income to the state economy.
Taxes on liquor, beer and wine were hiked from 10 to 35 per cent on a decision taken by the Kerala Cabinet meeting.
"During the 2018 floods, to tide over a difficult situation, we hiked excise duty from 8 to 15 per cent and withdrew it after 100 days. This time, we are in an even more tight spot, and hence there is no other way but to hike the taxes by 10 per cent for beer and wine and 35 per cent for liquor," said Ramakrishnan on the decision.
As per the reports, Kerala has garnered about Rs 14,504.67 crore on this count in the last fiscal year.