GUWAHATI, Feb 23: The state excise department has collected Rs.2604.88 crore revenue including VAT during 2020-2021fiscal upto January this year. The projected revenue collection including VAT for this fiscal would be around Rs. 3300.00 crore, state excise minister Parimal Suklabaidya said here on Tuesday.
“There is a steep increase in revenue collection in excise department since after BJP-led government came to the power,” Suklabaidya said while interacting with media persons here.
Giving a report card on his department, Suklabaidya said the state excise duty collection was Rs 799.53 crore, Rs 966.32 in 2016-17, Rs 1117.64 crore in 2017-18, Rs 1400 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 1639.61 crore in 2019-20.
In 2010-20, the department has collected Rs 20.09 lakh as fine from duty paid illicit liquor. The figure has gone upto Rs 18.98 lakh till January this year, he said.
To boost revenue collection the department had to go for a number of changes in legislation, administration and infrastructure in the last five years, the minister said.
He said that the Assam Excise Rules, 1945 replaced with the Assam Excise Rules, 2016 which came into force from September 1, 2016. The new rules have enabled the department inter-alia to realise excise duty and VAT at the wholesale level and it has resulted in increased Excise revenue collection by bringing in greater transparency and curbing revenue leakages.
The old country spirit mahaldari system replaced with new country spirit policy under which manufacture of country spirit is carried out in a similar fashion in line with Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), he said.
“A new policy for heritage alcoholic beverages has been notified by the department,” he said.
To meet the rising expenditure under health sector due to Covid-19 pandemic, the state cabinet on May 8, 2020 decided to hike the rates of ad-valorem levy on all types of liquor in the state by 25% on an average over the existing rates, the minister said.
However, the state cabinet in its meeting held on February 12, 2021 decided to roll back the hike in the ad-valorem levy rates on all types of liquor, Suklabaidya said.
He said the department has been carrying out regular and intensive drives against illicit/smuggled liquor to curb the distillation, trade and consumption of such harmful liquor. Such measures are aimed at safeguarding public health and at optimising revenue collection by plugging leakages.
In order to exercise a check on fake liquor products and to prevent evasion of excise revenue, the department has initiated steps for introduction of QR code based holographic labels on the Liquor bottles sold in the state which will ensure easy tracking of liquor bottles and curb evasion of excise duty and trade of illicit liquor, he said.
“Seven designated check points have been set up one each in Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Kamrup, Dhubri and Kokrajhar to conduct regular checking of vehicles carrying liquor consignments and to curb illegal transportation of liquor including liquor smuggled from the neighbouring states. Concerned District Excise officials have been instructed to ensure proper functioning of such check points,” Suklabaidya said.
“Proposal submitted to the state government for reorganisation of the Assam Excise service cadres. The matter is being examined by the Cadre Review Committee constituted by the government. This initiative will not only help the department in effective policy formulation and implementation but will also help in strengthening its enforcement and administrative machinery,” the minister said.
The department has procured breath analysers for use in detection of cases of liquor consumption in public places and drunken driving. Other equipment including hand-cuffs and uniform materials for all its field officials have also been distributed,” he said.
“Flying Squads and Highway Patrol Parties have been activated in the vulnerable districts in order to keep strict vigil on the movement of liquor and other intoxicants to prevent illegal transportation, trade and influx of duty evaded liquor in the state,” he also said.
“Naka checking at vulnerable points across the state are also carried out on regular basis,” he further said.
“The department has been taking steps for detection of illicit liquor cases and narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances across the state with special focus in tea garden areas. To achieve this, the enforcement officials have been carrying out regular vigorous raids against illicit liquor in all tea gardens and surrounding areas, he added.