The Delhi government's new excise policy now allows bars in hotels, restaurants and clubs to operate till 3 am except for those licensees which have been given license to operate round the clock service of liquor. Such establishments can also serve liquor in the open spaces such terrace and balcony.
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.
The policy document, however, does not highlight home delivery of liquor which is part of Excise Rules and legal drinking age that was proposed to be reduced from 25 years to 21 years in parity with neighbouring cities.
Under the new system, the government will be out of retail liquor trade, paving the way for closure of state-run shops and promoting private players in the national capital.
According to the 2021-22 excise policy, every liquor outlet in the city will provide a walk-in experience to its customers who will have multiple choices of brands, and the entire selection and sale process will be completed within the vend premise. Such retail vends that will be air-conditioned will have glass doors. Customers will not be allowed to crowd outside a vend or in the pavement and buy through the counter, it stated.
Under the new excise system, Delhiites will also be able to fill their bottles or 'growlers' with freshly brewed beer from any microbrewery in the city. The policy allows microbreweries to supply draught beer to bars.
"Draught beer shall be allowed to be taken away in bottles or 'growlers'. Microbrewery shall also be allowed to supply to other bars and restaurants that have license to serve liquor," the policy document stated.
The number of retail liquor vends will be 849 in the city, including five super premium retail vends that will have a minimum carpet area of 2,500 Sq. Ft. "Super Premium Vends, which will set up a tasting room within the premise, 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.
"Super Premium Vends will need to stock at least 50 imported (B10) liquor brands including wines (BECRS) etc. brands in the store," the policy document stated.
Special Excise Adhesive Labels, special inspection teams, a state-of the-art lab are some of the steps planned by the Delhi government to check tax evasion, conduct of retail vends and spurious liquor.
According to the policy, the excise department has introduced Excise Adhesive Labels (EALs) with high end security features manufactured by Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) to avoid tax evasion and plugging leakages in supply chain, and has also signed an agreement with SPMCIL.
The government has introduced new license L-38 for banquet halls, party places, farm houses, motels, wedding/party/event venues with permission to serve Indian and Foreign liquor in all the parties hosted at their premises on payment of one-time annual fee. Until now, such establishments were required to avail temporary license in form of P-10, P-10A, P-11 & P-13 for parties and functions organised.