Those looking to “heighten their spirits” with a peg or two will have to cough up more from now.
The State Budget, which sets a collection target of Rs. 12,600 crore for the Excise Department, has hiked the Additional Excise Duty for liquor across the board by 16 per cent to 40 per cent across 17 slabs.
However, the hike in price is expected to be passed on to the consumer only in liquor shops.
Pubs and restaurants where liquor is served are willing to wait a while before taxing the consumer.
Reacting to the increase in the duty, Ashish Kothare, president of the Association of Bars, Restaurants and Pubs, said, “I would like to wait and watch the market response. Spending capacity is really low now as the rupee is hitting new lows. People are a little scared to spend and the market right now is not ready to take this hike. Liquor shops may pass the hike on to the customer immediately, but we will absorb it for while.”
However, he opposed the hike in excise duty. “The liquor industry is the scapegoat every year if you see the track record for the last 10 years. It is a soft target as there is no opposition.”