Tipplers will now have to shell out more for their drinks as the Chandigarh administration has decided to hike the value added tax on liquor to 12 per cent in the Union Territory from 4 per cent.

Now, the VAT in the UT will be at par with the neighbouring states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh as the Chandigarh Administrator General (Retd) S F Rodrigues has approved the new excise policy (2009-10) for the region.

The step has been taken to ensure balance in the regional trade and curb liquor smuggling to neighbouring states.

According to the new policy announced today, there will be no change in the number of country liquor vends and their quota. However, the number of liquor vends for India made foreign liquor (IMFL) has been reduced from 156 to 152.

In order to promote low alcoholic drinks, the licence fee on wholesale license of wine has been reduced from Rs 5,000 per brand to Rs 2,000 per brand and sale of domestic wines has been allowed from licensed Departmental Stores.

The administration has also introduced the concept of setting up modern liquor shops with lower licence fee of Rs 20 lakh per annum, subject to the condition that such shops would be air-conditioned and would be allowed in malls and shop-cum- offices, an official spokesman said here today

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