Excise, sales tax from liquor trade yield Rs.15,000 crore

The State's revenue by way of excise and sales tax from liquor trade was nearly Rs.15,000 crore and registered a growth of 19.74 per cent in 2010-11 compared to the previous year, said Minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise Natham R. Viswanathan in the Assembly.

Moving the demands for grants for his department in the Assembly on Wednesday, he said that Prohibition and Excise was a major revenue earning department. In 2010-11, the revenue collection was Rs.8,115 crore by way of excise and Rs.6,849 crore by way of sales tax totalling Rs.14,965 crore. In 2009-10, the revenue stood at Rs.12,498 crore.

He reiterated the government's policy of total eradication of illicit liquor that caused irreparable damage to the poor and downtrodden people. Having introduced the new retail vending system through Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) in 2003-04 when the revenue to the State from liquor was Rs.3,639 crore, the Minister said that the government would constantly review functioning of the corporation to optimise its performance.

The department's enforcement wing would be strengthened with adequate check posts on the borders with neighbouring States to avoid smuggling and infiltration of illicit and spurious liquor.

The suggestion to set up grain-based distilleries by using grains such as maize, barley and sorghum (but not food items such as rice and wheat) would be examined with reference to similar units in the State, Mr. Viswanathan said.

A technical committee has been formed to visit other States to study and submit a report, he said adding that this was to overcome the fluctuations in production of molasses and to reduce the import of grain-based Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA) from other States for blending.

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