PUDUCHERRY: The sale of India Made foreign Liquor (IMFL) has gone down in the past three months, while the excise revenue has gone up after the government enhanced excise duty (ED) and additional excise duty (AED) in January this year.
The average sales have gone down by around 25 per cent in the past three months with the price difference of liquor narrowing down between Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, says Meenakshi Sundaram, a wholesale liquor merchant.
Most of the impact has been felt on the economy and premium brands, though the sales in mid category brands have remained quite static.
In the economy brands the sales had come down by 40 per cent, says Embalam Selvam of SG Wines (Beverages). The price difference has narrowed down to Rs 10 to Rs 15 as compared to Rs 20 to Rs 25 earlier.
“Earlier a 180 ml bottle of a cheaper liquor brand cost anywhere from Rs 18 to Rs 22, but now the minimum price of the same is Rs 35. We used to sell a case for Rs 980 earlier, but the same case costs now Rs 1500.
This is an increase of Rs 520,” said Selvam. Even for some brands like Mansion House brandy which is very popular brand in the medium category, the sales have come down to 10,000 cases a month from 15,000 cases earlier, said Selvam.
The same view is echoed by Meenakshi Sundaram: from 40,000 cases to 50,000 cases a month, the sales have come down to 25,000 cases a month now,” he said.
In the premium brands the prices of liquor have become almost the same as in Tamil Nadu and in some cases the rates are higher; for example, Marbos brandy the price of 750 ml is Rs 540 in Puducherry as compared to Rs 440 in Tamil Nadu.
The narrowing down of the cost of liquor between Puducherry and Tamil Nadu and the enhancement of bus fare by both the governments as well as enhancement of VAT have culminated in dropping of sales, said Meenakshi Sundaram.
Earlier business people came to Puducherry to make purchases of goods like tyres, tiles and other such products, but now such people are no longer coming. The enhancement of bus fare has also made the consumers from the neighbouring districts of Tamil Nadu to cut down on the travel to Puducherry for having a drink.
However, in mid segment category which constitutes around 60 per cent of the total sales, the sales have not been impacted despite the enhancement of prices. This is because most of the consumers are local, except a few and, therefore, are left with no choice but to purchase a costlier drink.
The overall revenue collection from excise has gone up as per the government’s plan to mobilise additional revenue of at least Rs 80 crore annually by hiking the ED and AED.
As per the statistics from the excise department, there has been an average increase of monthly revenue by Rs 10 crore.
In February, the revenue had gone up to Rs 59 crore as compared to Rs 45 crore in February last year. Similarly in March the revenue had gone up to Rs 43 crore as compared to Rs 33 crore in March last year, R Anbazhagan, deputy collector (Excise) told Express on Thursday.