Andhra Pradesh has decided to make hay while the sun shines. Or rather, make good use of the booze-lover’s thirst for the drink. After initially imposing a 25 per cent hike when the liquor shops were reopened on Monday, the YSRCP government decided to raise liquor prices by another 50 per cent on Tuesday. This is in line with the Delhi government’s decision that hiked alcohol prices by 70 per cent.
On the face of it, the government says the abnormal increase in liquor rates was to discourage people from consumption and also reduce overcrowding at wine shops. But the fact remains that the cash-strapped state is looking to liquor sales to boost its near-empty exchequer. Between 21 March and 20 April, as opposed to an usual monthly revenue of Rs 6000 crore, Andhra Pradesh collected a paltry Rs 50 crore.
Which makes this a very sensible decision. If the steep hike ensures many a Bacchus-lover does not venture out to buy liquor, the government’s move would be a success. It would also mean that the government would stand to make the same amount of money with lesser sales which again makes sense when the need is to maintain social distancing.
In Andhra Pradesh, which is working towards total prohibition by 2024, in a phased manner, the reopening of the wine shops saw unprecedented crowds throwing social distancing to the winds. All the 3468 retail outlets are owned by the state government’s Beverages Corporation Limited. Of these 2345 outlets were opened on day one.
Categories: Andhra Pradesh