The Maharashtra Cabinet on Thursday decided to allow sale of wine at supermarkets and grocery shops operating from premises with an area more than 1,000 square feet.
“Wine bottles can be sold in supermarkets or shops with area more than 1,000 square feet where the operators will be allowed to have a stall for wines. The decision will give a boost to fruit-based wineries which provide additional income to farmers and wine producers in the State,” said Minister for Skill Development Nawab Malik after a meeting of the State Cabinet.
A statement from the Chief Minister's Office said “shelf-in-shop” method will be adopted in supermarkets and walk-in-stores which have area of 100 sq mt or more and which are registered under the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments Act. Supermarkets will have to be pay a fee of ₹5,000 for selling wine.
However supermarkets which are close to places of worship or educational institutions cannot sell wine. Further, sale of wine will not be allowed in the districts where prohibition is in force.
As per the existing policy in the State, wine bottles can be sold only in approved liquor stores. Under the new policy, the State government will charge ₹10 as excise duty per bulk litre production on all types of wine bottles.
According to data, the wine industry has a turnover of around ₹1,000 crore in India, of which Maharashtra’s share is 65%. The industry is largely concentrated in Nasik, followed by Sangli, and Pune.
Criticising the decision, Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “We will not allow Maharashtra to become a Madya-rashtra (liquor state).”
BJP MLA Ashish Shelar asked whether the State government now plans to supply liquor via taps. Mr. Malik said that the BJP-ruled Goa and Himachal Pradesh have already implemented a similar policy and opposition should find better things to criticise the government.
Panel to study NEP
The State cabinet also cleared the proposal to appoint a committee of ministers to study Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar committee report on implementation of New Education Policy.
Meanwhile, Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Ashok Chavan, who was attending the Cabinet meeting, had to leave mid-way after he was informed that his RT-PCR report was positive.
(With PTI inputs)