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Maharashtra: Now, burn a bigger hole to buy imported foreign liquor

In what would be a dampener for New Year revelers, the state government increased the excise duty on Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL). This, said officials from the excise department, would see the retail prices of mid-level and premium brands of spirits like whisky, gin, brandy and rum being hiked by a fourth of their present prices. The price hike will be minimum for brands in the lower range.

The duty hike is expected to generate additional revenues of around Rs 600 crore.The new retail prices will apply to liquor stocks delivered by manufacturing units from Tuesday onwards and not to existing stocks at retail vends like wine shops and permit rooms.

On Monday, the state home department issued a notification changing the tax structure from January 1. State excise commissioner Dr Ashwini Joshi confirmed this and added that the new rates and MRPs would apply from Tuesday. The actual hike in the MRP will depend on the manufacturing cost declared by producers.

“The maximum retail price (MRP) on mid-segment and premium brands will rise by 25 per cent, while it will be minimum for lower-level brands,” explained an official from the state excise department. The official said the new excise rates duty would be three times the manufacturing cost declared by the producer or Rs 350 per proof litre of alcohol, whichever is higher.

The state government has also changed the formula for imported liquor, which will slightly bring down prices of scotch. “Scotch or higher-end imported liquor is the costliest in Maharashtra, so some slight relief has been provided. However, the sales of this category of spirits is hardly two to three percent of the 19 crore litres of liquor that is sold every year,” an official said.