Data collected by the state’s Excise department reports that alcohol consumption for three months (between April and June) around Maharashtra has dipped 59 per cent as compared to the consumption level for the same period in 2019.
As against 24.08 crore bulk litres (bl) used in April-June last year, the consumption was just 9.89 crore bl in 2020. Senior excise officials and industry players designate the retrieval to 2019 consumption level may take a while.
Liquor sales were not allowed in April amid the COVID-19 lockdown but since May 4, the Maharashtra government had first permitted liquor retail in non-hotspot areas and later allowed the same in red zones too. It steadily also allowed home delivery for IMFL (Indian-Made Foreign Liquor) and beer to avoid the excess crowd at liquor stores.
Alcoholic spirits which include gin, rum, whisky, vodka were more of a mixed bag and seemed to be rallying the most rapid among all sections. For May, sales were down 35 per cent as compared to 2019 but this breach had been lessened to 8 per cent by June end.
With lakhs of workers returning to their home and no home deliveries of country liquor allowed, the country liquor sales also went down by 47 per cent in May and 15 per cent in June as compared to last year. In coming days, industry experts feel that the bigger market players in the beer and IMFL segment will raise their market share. The government, so far, has been realistic and has definite against further growing taxes on liquor, unlike some other states in the nation.
One needs a valid liquor permit to drink even at home in Maharashtra. One must be of 25 years of age to consume liquor while you can consume mild beer after turning 21. As per to excise officials, the move to permit home deliveries of beer and alcoholic spirits from May 15 onwards with restaurants and bars still shut has caused in the increase in drinking permit application.
The excise department offer one-day allows for Rs 5, one-year allows for Rs 105 and lifetime ones for Rs 1,005. Permits can be availed online. The state’s revenue from permit has increased from Rs 1.2 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 7.79 crore in the first three months of 2020-21.