GUWAHATI, Aug 8 - The excise department is expecting a 25 per cent increase in revenue collection despite the impacts of COVID-19. In the first quarter of the financial year, the department registered a revenue of Rs 420 crore.
�Last year, during the period, the collection was Rs 511 crore. But this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has its impact on revenue collection. In the initial period of the lockdown, the liquor shops and bars were closed. Bars have started opening only from today. Despite the hiccups, we managed to reduce the revenue loss to Rs 92 crore,� an excise official said.
Significantly, the revenue during the last ten days of July (July 20 to 31) after the lockdown in the city was relaxed a little was a whopping Rs 140 crore
�During the same period last year, we had collected Rs 123 crore. The increase in revenue collection during this period was despite that fact that shops were open only on one side of the road. Moreover, there are local lockdowns at some places of the State and the shop timings are restricted to 5 pm,� an official said.
�Most importantly bars were also closed since March. They contribute a significant amount of the collection,� he added.
The increase in revenue has been attributed to the hike in duty and reforms brought about in the department which plugged the leakages.
The state government hiked the liquor taxes by around 25 per cent from May to offset the losses suffered during the lockdown period. The fuel taxes were also raised by Rs 5. The State can impose taxes on only liquor and fuel.
Collection from liquor taxes during May has been estimated at Rs 126 crore, which is Rs 3 crore more than the corresponding month last year. Even in May, liquor shops were closed for several days on account of the restructuring of taxes and holidays. But despite that, the revenue collection increased.
From tax on foreign liquor, the State had got Rs 6 crore in April and Rs 65 crore in March � during the lockdown period.
�The consumption has apparently not increased. But noting the collection in July, we feel the department is on track to register a 25 per cent growth this year,� the official added.
In 2019-2020, the excise department revenue stood at Rs 1,650 crore, registering an 18 per cent jump, despite being hit by the CAA protests and COVID-19 towards the end of the financial year.
Excise department is one of the major contributors to the State coffers. There are 2,123 Indian Made Foreign Liquor outlets in the State, of which 973 are bars.