Guwahati, Dec 31 : Assam, India’s 15th least populous state, on average consumes 1.75 lakh bottles beer and 2.34 lakh bottles Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) daily through authorised vendors in the state.
It has been revealed by the Assam state excise department.
According to the state excise department data, the people of the state have consumed 6.44 crore bulk litre of liquor in the first seven months of this financial year.
From April 1 to October 30 in 2018-19 financial year, a total of 3,68,76,708 bulk litre of IMFL and 2,75,91,705 bulk litre of beer were consumed by the people of Assam.
On average, the people of the state have consumed 92.09 lakh bulk litre of liquor per month.
According to the state excise department, one bottle measures 750 ml and in one case there are 12 bottles and one case is measured as 9 bulk litres.
During the 2015-16 financial year, the state had consumed 6.91 crore bulk litre of liquor, while the state consumed 7.12 crore bulk litre in 2016-17, 8.06 crore bulk litre in 2017-18.
Public relations officer to state excise minister Sailendra Pandey said that, the IMFL and Beer consumption are high, but overall liquor consumption went down by 5.46 percent in 2017-18 compared to the previous year.
“In 2017-18, country liquor consumption went down by 36.30 percent compared to the previous year. Overall liquor consumption in the state has been gradually gone down compared to the previous years. Despite of the liquor consumption goes down, the state excise department has collected more revenue since 2016-17,” Sailendra Pandey said.
The revenue collection of state excise department has increased 58 percent in past three years.
Pandey said that, the state excise department has contributed Rs 1500 crore to the state exchequer in 2016-17 and it increased to Rs 1900 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 1700 crore in 2018-19 till December.
The Assam excise official further said that, the state excise department has initiated several reforms to bring transparency in overall systems.
“The state excise department has already changed its 100 years old Excise Act and rules. After changing the decades old act and rules, all kinds of excise levies and fee are now deposited through online. Earlier, it was manual and many corruptions were happened in that system. It was difficult to trace the depositor. But the new system helped to stop inflow of black money and brought transparency in the excise administration,” Pandey said.
Sailendra Pandey further said that, the state excise department has taken several steps to stop corruption and illegal liquor transportation.
On the other hand, Assam based businessman Jitu Goswami said that, the state excise department has taken first point taxation system, which helped to stop corruption and leakages.
“Earlier the state government had lost huge revenue following leakages from bonded houses to small vendors. But now, it has been totally stopped which helped to increase the revenue collection. Now, people are doing easy business through the online system,” Jitu Goswami said.
The state excise department had closed over 200 liquor shops, few bonded warehouses for violation of state excise act and rules in past two years.
It is to be mentioned that, the Enforcement Directorate has arrested several state excise officials and liquor mafia in connection with the several thousand crore rupees scam of the excise department happened during previous Congress-led government in the state.
(Reporting by Hemanta Kumar Nath)