Liquor in Punjab gets expensive as CM gives nod to Covid cess

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday gave the go-ahead to the imposition of Covid cess on liquor, including imported foreign liquor and imported beer, with effect from 1 June. The state is facing huge revenue losses due to the coronavirus pandemic and continued lockdown. This move will help Punjab mop an additional revenue of Rs 145 crore in the current fiscal.

The state is facing a revenue shortfall of Rs 26,000 crore, which is 30% of the total budget revenue estimates, for FY 2020-21, necessitating some tough measures to generate additional revenue, the CM said, accepting the recommendation of the Group of Ministers (GoM), which was constituted on 12 May. The proceeds of the additional levy shall be utilised entirely for Covid-related expenditure, said the Chief Minister, directing the department of excise and taxation to charge the cess in the current year.

The Chief Minister had earlier asked GoM, comprising the finance, education, housing & urban development, and forests & wildlife ministers, to examine the proposal regarding levy of special Covid cess on liquor sale, to partially recoup some of the revenue losses amid this unprecedented crisis.

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