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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 26 June 2024

Liquor sales down 3.3 per cent in Bengal

Data compiled by the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies show total IMFL sales in the country fell 12 per cent to 305 million cases

A Staff Reporter Calcutta Published 29.05.21, 02:24 AM
Bengal joins the likes of Meghalaya, Pondicherry, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan which reported a consistent decline in sales in contrast to the national trend as per the CIABC data.

Bengal joins the likes of Meghalaya, Pondicherry, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan which reported a consistent decline in sales in contrast to the national trend as per the CIABC data. File picture

Bengal has seen a consistent decline in the sales of India Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) throughout the four quarters of 2020-21 as a combination of lockdown on account of the Covid pandemic and an excise duty revision affected sales in the state.

Data compiled by the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies show total IMFL sales in the country fell 12 per cent to 305 million cases (9 litres each). The share of Bengal in the all-India sales at 10 million cases fell to 3.3 per cent from 4.2 per cent in the previous year.

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In the early months of the Covid pandemic last year, the state government introduced an additional excise duty of 30 per cent, replacing it with a slab-based structure later in the year that inflated the cost of foreign liquor in the state by 40-90 per cent.

Bengal joins the likes of Meghalaya, Pondicherry, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan which reported a consistent decline in sales in contrast to the national trend as per the CIABC data.

While liquor sales nationally fell a whopping 42 per cent in the first quarter of 2020-21, it declined 9 per cent in second quarter and 1 per cent in third quarter before showing a recovery of 6 per cent in fourth quarter. The top five states that aided the recovery in sales were Maharashtra, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

“Many states showed positive trend through the quarters, and even though most states were unable to fully recover volume lost in the first and second quarters, strong performance in third and fourth quarters reflects fundamental strength in the market. It also confirms that there is no lasting shift against alcoholic beverages in consumption baskets,” said CIABC director general Vinod Giri.

He added that the industry was concerned that sales did not pick up in some of the states, contrary to the national trend.

“The inclination of some state governments to impose high taxes on alcohol, assuming it will yield greater revenues, is greatly misplaced. Higher prices on account of higher taxes not only lower case sales, they also force consumers to downgrade to cheaper options,” Giri said.

A detailed breakup of the state excise receipts, however, show Bengal had sourced an estimated gross revenue of Rs 6,510 crore only from foreign liquor and spirits against Rs 6,387 crore in 2019-20.

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