Cash-starved Uttar Pradesh is now all set to promote use of `daru’ as the state Cabinet has decided to slash tax on alcohol used in the manufacture of liquor. As a result, Indian Manufactured Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and country spirit will now cost less.
The tax on the alcohol used in manufacture of liquor has been rationalised and has been fixed at 5 per cent. Earlier, molasses used for manufacture of liquor was taxed at 32 per cent. The impact of this tax reduction on the actual prices of IMFL and country spirit would be calculated within a day or two. But the prices are set to go down.
This decision, coming from a saffron-clad Mahant of Gorakhnath Temple who presided over the Cabinet meeting, has stumped people. The question doing rounds is whether the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government is out to promote the use of alcohol.
The government probably was aware that this was a controversial decision and was not in sync with the image of Yogi Adityanath. And that is why probably the UP government wanted to keep it under the wraps. Government spokesperson Avnish Awasthi did not elaborate on this decision and he did not inform the reporters as to the impact of this decision on price of alcohol. “Just wait for the press release,” was his laconic reply.
Even the press release did not give any details. It just said that the tax has been reduced to 5 per cent till any further decision. Liquor and petrol are two of the commodities which are not under the purview of GST.
This is not the first time that the BJP government has promoted alcohol in a big way. When Kalyan Singh was the Chief Minister and Surya Pratap Shahi was Excise Minister, the beer bar and model bar concepts were brought in. The trend still continues as this decision has given a fillip to revenue collection.
“It is a strange paradox that a Mahant’s government in UP is now promoting sale of liquor,” Amarnath Agarwal, senior Congress leader quipped.