Special COVID-19 duty on liquor withdrawn in Puducherry

This will enable a cut in rates of alcoholic beverages in the union territory.
Man pulling out a bottle from wine shop
Man pulling out a bottle from wine shop
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The Puducherry administration has rescinded the 7.5 percent special COVID-19 duty on liquor here, enabling a cut in rates of alcoholic beverages in the tourism-dependent union territory.

An official release here on Thursday said Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan approved the Excise department's proposal to bring to close the validity of the special excise duty with effect from April 7.

The move would make liquor products cheaper here.

The special duty was imposed in May last year to bring the price on par with the rates in neighbouring states and to prevent influx of people into Puducherry, especially from Tamil Nadu, during the pandemic situation.

The then LG Kiran Bedi, who imposed the duty much to the chargin of the then Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, extended it periodically.

Now the duty has been withdrawn presumably to make liquor cheaper to net revenue to the fund-starved exchequer.

While according approval for withdrawing the special duty, the LG on Thursday directed that all bars and retail sellers of liquor and restaurants to follow safety norms.

The lifting of special duty has been done after getting Election Commission clearance, the release from the office of the Lt Governor said.

Assembly polls to 30 seats were held here on April 6 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2.

Puducherry recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in a day in 2021 with 293 people testing positive for the infection. With this, the total number of active cases in the Union Territory is 2000. Of this 1510 are under home isolation and treatment. Puducherry headquarters also reported the maximum number of cases followed by Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. 

Health care authorities have so far sent 6.89 lakh swab samples for testing, out of which 6.33 lakh swab samples returned negative for COVID-19.

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