Let’s raise a toast to Delhi’s New Excise Policy on Alcoholic Beverages

By UK India Business Council (UKIBC)

The UK India Business Council, along with the UK alcoholic-beverage sector, welcomes Delhi’s new excise policy announcing a series of progressive changes focused on the sale and consumption of liquor.

The National Capital of Delhi, with a population of approximately 20 million, is one of the biggest markets in India for alcoholic beverages. The alcoholic beverage (alco-bev) sector is also an extensive source of income for the Government of Delhi.

Through a slew of progressive measures like private players to take over government-run vends, different registration criteria for different brands of liquor depending on the pricing and sales figures outside Delhi, bringing down the legal drinking age in Delhi on par with neighbouring states, the introduction of ”age-gating” at restaurants and bars, and equitable geographic spread of retail outlets in the state, the new policy aims to give a boost to premiumisation and that of the trade, increase state revenues, and welfare of the consumers. The new policy also promises to act as a deterrent for illicit liquor operations prevailing in the National Capital Territory.

Analysis of the new state excise policy demonstrates that the city will be divided into 32 zones for equitable distribution of shops. Current stores will be reshuffled and evenly distributed across the city. Zonal licenses would be allowed to draw more traction towards profitable areas and no single entity would be allocated more than two zones.

The decision to lower the legal drinking age from 25 to 21 years in Delhi will help to prevent underage residents from venturing out to neighbouring states where the legal drinking age is lower. The policy also brings in the internationally practiced ‘age gating’ concept, which restricts entry of youth in premises where liquor is served if they are alone or in a group of under-21s.

This amendment has been introduced following industry representations, as invited by Government stakeholders and analysis made by a Group of Ministers. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal constituted a group of ministers (GoM) to study the report, public suggestions, and other factors. The CM had directed the GoM to put forward the suggestions after studying every aspect thoroughly.

The UKIBC wishes to congratulate the Group of Ministers and the Government of NCT of Delhi, for their step towards striving to achieve a cleansing of the alcoholic beverage trade in Delhi and look forward to supporting such progressive reforms.


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