Three years after a hike on alcohol prices, the Tamil Nadu government is going to increase booze prices across the state. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting and is likely to add upto Rs 5,320 crore to the state's treasury, reports mention. The government-owned Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Ltd (Tasmac) is the only body authorised to sell alcohol in the state and it will levy an extra Rs 10 on beer and Rs 12 on hard drinks.
Liquor is divided into three categories - ordinary, medium and premium - based on the quality of the drink. In the ordinary category the price is up by Rs 12, Rs 10 in the medium and premium categories. This spike will be on a quantity of 180 ml.
The government earned Rs 26,995 crore in revenues from sale of alcohol in the year 2016-2017 alone. While it might seem that the spike in prices will deter tipplers from buying booze regularly, it is not the case, reports mention. The sale might slow down for the first couple of months but is sure to pick up eventually.
MK Stalin, deputy chief of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), expressed his unhappiness with the decision. According to a report in India Today, in the run-up to the 2016 Assembly elections, most parties had promised to implement prohibition on alcohol. Stalin said that at first the government promised to implement a step-by-step prohibition and now it is increasing the prices to generate revenues. He even asked how the government could promise a liquor ban if it had revenue generation in mind.
According to reports, even after the phase prohibition in 2016 that was implemented by the Jayalalithaa government that shut down around 1,000 shops, the state did not experience any loss as anticipated. In fact, the sales shot up and the revenues collected in 2016-2017 exceeded that of the previous year by Rs 1,149 crore.
In fact, on an average, Tasmac sells around Rs 70 crore of alcohol a day on weekdays, which shoots up to Rs 100 crore on festive days and weekends.