Since the prices for low-priced liquor were slashed earlier in September, smuggling of medium category brands from neighbouring states has reportedly increased.

Many bottles of seemingly expensive liquor arranged together on a surface Image for representation: Pixabay/Michelle Bryant
news Prohibition Friday, October 30, 2020 - 08:06

Once again, the Andhra Pradesh government has revised the liquor prices in the state, this time reducing the rates of medium to high priced liquor. Earlier in September, the government had slashed the rates of liquor in low-price categories, in order to prevent smuggling from neighbouring states as well as to address incidents of sanitiser consumption as an alternative to alcohol. At the same time, the rates for “premium and super premium categories” were increased. 

This time, the government has decreased the price of “medium and premium segments” of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and Foreign Liquor (FL). Prices of beer and Ready to Drink (RTD) varieties will remain unchanged. The new prices will come into effect from October 30. 

     Changes in price of medium and high categories of IMFL and  FL from October 30 

After hiking liquor prices once earlier in October last year, the government had decided to further levy a 75 % prohibition tax on liquor starting from May 5 this year. The major price hike came at a time when liquor stores in the state opened for the first time after 40 days because of the pandemic, and witnessed huge crowds. 

The order announcing the latest change in liquor rates, issued on Thursday, said that there has been an increase in liquor smuggling into the state, from May 2020 onwards. In spite of the recent change in prices starting from September (reducing rates of low-price liquor), the Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) has observed that smuggling of medium and premium categories of liquor into the state remains high, the order said.  

Read: Andhra govt bans carrying liquor into state without permit

The SEB has found in its latest report that smuggling in medium price category brands has increased, whereas smuggling in the low priced liquor category has declined, the order said, adding, “It can thus be inferred that the smuggling trend is shifting towards the medium category liquor.”

“The SEB has also stated that further rationalization in medium and higher categories of liquor will help in curbing smuggling of liquor further and reduce illegal sale of spurious liquor, in public interest,” the order said. 

According to the SEB, between September 15 and October 15, 1211 cases of liquor smuggling have been registered, of which 630 cases involved smuggling from Telangana, 546 cases from Karnataka, 24 cases from Odisha and 11 cases from Tamil Nadu. 

“The report points to the large difference between the MRPs of medium and premium liquor brands, observing that the prices of some brands of liquor in A.P. are more than double the MRPs prevailing in Telangana and Karnataka,” the order said, adding that the reduction in MRP (maximum retail price) of medium and premium brands of liquor is being done to “prevent smuggling of liquor in these segments and consequent drain of the revenues of the State.”

Read: ‘CM Jagan’s prohibition only on paper’: Problems in Andhra’s phased prohibition

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