Delhi government may soon allow the companies to sell a huge stock of leftover liquor, which remained stuck at the warehouses and could not be sold when the Excise Policy 2021-22 was in force, through the corporation-run vends under the prevailing regime.
Sources said the excise department has prepared a proposal to roll over the old liquor stock and sent it to the government to place it before the cabinet for its approval.
According to an estimate, there are more than 70 lakh liquor bottles – beer, whiskey, rum, wine and vodka – which are currently stocked at the warehouses. Sources said the government may allow the brands, which have already been registered by the excise department, to roll over the old stock.
“This way, about 40-45 lakh bottles can be allowed to be brought back into the system after collecting the excise duty from them. If liquor companies register the remaining brands, they can also be allowed to be sold under the current excise regime,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
The wholesalers and the retail vendors were asked to dispose of all the stock by August 31, which left the distilleries and reached the stockists during the excise regime 2021-22. As several retail shops closed down much before the excise regime changed, some stock had been left with the wholesalers.
Vinod Giri, director general of Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies, said the industry is greatly concerned regarding the stock left over at L1s (wholesalers) during the two policy changeovers.
“Under the old excise regime, which was in force till November 16, the liquor companies had imported the stock after paying the excise duty in advance. However, under the excise policy 2021-2, the duty was embedded in the vendor licence fee. Since the tax treatment of the two were different, the companies were not allowed to sell that stock and it is also lying at warehouses,” Giri said.
“We met the excise authorities recently and were told that the government was working to find a solution,” Giri added.
Nita Kapoor, chief executive officer of International Spirits and Wines Association of India, said they have also been seeking a rollover of stocks lying with wholesalers. “It will be a very positive step and a big relief for the industry that is facing unprecedented inflation,” Kapoor said.
“If we get a go-ahead from the government, the leftover stock could be sold with price being fixed as per the existing excise policy,” said an official.