Is Delhi going the Mumbai way?
Looks like it. From next week Delhi will be charging upto 30% extra for beers and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) as part of their new excise duty regime. Earlier in the month a proposal for the prescribed hike was presented to the Lt. Governor of Delhi, Najeeb Jung, for approval which has been granted.
According to a India Today report, beers will see a 30% hike in prices while IMFL prices will increase between 15-20% where a pint of Kingfisher will cost between Rs 75-80 while for a whisky brand like Blender’s Pride you will have to shell out more than Rs 700. Compared to near by NCR cities like Gurgaon, prices of spirits in Delhi have always been high now they difference will become even more stark. However, imported spirits and wines have been spared from any further increase in taxation.
The aim of the new regime is to fill the coffers of the exchequer; the Delhi Excise Department has a target of Rs 3600 crore to achieve in Financial Year 2014-15. This will unfortunately open Delhi to myriad illegal activities which involve smuggling as well as sale of spurious spirits from the neighboring states. Another collateral damage will be suffered by the restaurants segment in Delhi who also will invariably have to increase prices on their menu.
As for the consumers in Delhi, our heart goes out to you. Earlier in 2013, Mumbai too saw an increase in excise 25% for IMFL and 43% for beer. We understand how unfair it seems to be paying taxes for our favorite tipple which should ideally cost much lesser. All we can say to our brethren in Delhi is, join the club.