Delhi government imposes 70% ‘Special Coronavirus Tax’ on liquor

The Delhi government headed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has come up with a ‘Special Coronavirus Tax’ on the sale of alcohol just a day after the restriction on liquor was lifted.

The Delhi government would charge a fee of 70% over the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of alcohol from May 5. 

The Delhi government has issued a statement regarding the ‘Special Coronavirus Fee.’ It stated that all categories of liquor sold through retail licensees for consumption off the premises would be charged an additional 70 per cent tax added to the Maximum Retail Price (MRP).

The order issued on May 4 mentioned that “You are hereby directed to collect the Special Corona Fee at 70 percent of the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) on all categories of liquor sold in NCT of Delhi through your retail vends with immediate effect. Further, the daily sale shall be compiled vend-wise by each licensee, and a consolidated statement be submitted to this Department on a daily basis. The collected Special Corona Fee shall be reimbursed to the Government on a weekly basis.”

Chief Minister Kejriwal has also strictly warned the liquor selling stores to ensure the maintenance of social distancing and wearing of face masks, violating which would lead to the closure of the shop.

The excise department of Delhi has mandated all the liquor sale licensees to add a copy of the order to their store and prominently display the order to the alcohol buyers before starting any alcohol sale on Tuesday. 

The idea to impose a special tax on the sale of alcohol was considered at the Cabinet meeting chaired by the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on May 4. On Sunday, the Delhi Chief Minister had said that the coronavirus crisis and lockdown restriction have severely hit the Delhi government’s earnings and economy. Arvind Kejriwal stated that the Delhi government earned Rs 3,500 crore in April last year, but only Rs 300 crore in April this year.

Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala of Haryana said that the state is considering to impose a variable “COVID Cess” on alcohol to support the areas that are deeply hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

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