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Delhi’s new liquor policy: Bars open till 3 am; no crowd outside vendor and much more

Delhi’s new liquor policy: Bars open till 3 am; no crowd outside vendor and much more
The Delhi government will exit the retail liquor business leading to the closure of state-run shops while allowing the private sector to take over. The state has capped the number of retail liquor vendors in the city to 849. The Excise Policy 2021-22 that was made public on Monday noted that Delhi is ranked the 28th most visited city in the world and the first in India by foreign visitors. It stated that excise is an important source of revenue for the state.
These are some of the changes introduced by the Delhi government in the city’s new liquor policy.
  • The Delhi government expects to increase its revenue by 20 percent in a year after this new policy. The new policy did not mention anything on the legal age for drinking now reduced to 21 years from 25 years.
  • Of the 849 retail liquor vendors allowed in the city, the MCD area (30 zones or 272 wards) will have 27 vendors each totalling 810 vendors. A new license — L-7Z — will be granted to each zone operator/allottee who bids the highest in an e-tender. The NDMC and cantonment area zone will have 29 vendors. Delhi airport will have 10 vendors. This number includes five super-premium retail vendors.
  • The ‘super premium’ vendors can sell products only above Rs 200 MRP for beer and above Rs 1,000 retail price for all other spirits, including but not limited to whiskey, gin, vodka, brandy, etc.
  • Crowding outside a vendor or on the pavement or at sales counters is strictly prohibited due to COVID-19 protocols.
  • Liquor vendors have to ensure that there are no food stalls outside their outlets so as to avoid crowding or drinking outside.
  • Liquor can now be served in open spaces such as terraces and balconies of licensed hotels and restaurants. Bars in hotels, restaurants, and clubs can now operate till 3 am. Those with a specific license can serve liquor 24X7 such as the ones at airports.
  • Microbreweries can now supply their draught beer to bars and also provide takeaway services to customers. Draught beer can now be served at events, which are permitted; and at banquet halls, which have temporary licences such as P-10, P-10E etc.
  • Security-related measures, including CCTV monitoring are non-negotiable.
  • The government has sought timely implementation of the new barcodes or the excise adhesive labels (EALs) with new security features introduced by the excise department.  Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) produced EALs to help the state prevent tax evasion and plug leakages in the supply chain.
  • The prices of the brands in Delhi will be decided after comparing with those in adjoining states such as Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. This will reduce smuggling, said the government.
  • The annual L-1 wholesale license fee for FY22 will be Rs 5 crore (plus a nominal charge of Rs 5,000) irrespective of the number of brands. The brand registration fee is Rs 1 lakh per brand and label registration fee of Rs 5,000 for FY22.
  • There is a one-time annual fee for the new L-38 temporary licenses for banquet halls, party places, farm houses, motels, weddings, parties, events venues. This will be Rs. 5 lakh for up to 5,000 sq ft.; Rs. 10 lakh (Rs. 1 million) for above 500 sq. ft. up to 15,000 sq. ft.; and Rs. 15 lakh (for above 15,000 sq. ft).
  • For an in-house party or any function in any community centre, the P-10 fee will be Rs 10,000 per event irrespective of the number of guests.
  • To serve liquor in banquet halls, party places, farm houses, motels, wedding/ party/ event venues, the one-time P-10E license fee will be Rs 50,000 per event, if the venue does not have a regular license.
  • The government will set up a state-of-the-art lab to detect spurious and counterfeit liquor. Excise department officials will pick up random samples of all brands for checking. The reports will be published on the website.
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