New excise policy: Now restaurants and hotels in Chandigarh can stay open until 3am

The Chandigarh administration announced on Friday extending the closing time of bars and hotels by two hours. Currently, UT hotels and bars can stay open until 1 a.m. and with the extension announced in the excise policy for 2022-23, they will stay open until 3 a.m. In another major development, 3-star and 4-star hotels were allowed to serve alcohol 24 hours a day. Previously bars and clubs were allowed to stay open until 1am and most places began to close from 12:30 a.m.

UT councilor Dharam Pal said: “We have introduced the ability to extend restaurant, bar and hotel closing times by two hours upon payment of an additional license fee. We have also licensed 24-hour alcohol service at 3-star and 4-star hotels upon payment of an additional license fee. Previously, this facility was only available in 5-star hotels. With this, almost all hotels in Chandigarh would start serving alcohol around the clock.

Meanwhile, welcoming the decision, the club’s owners said the move would boost tourism and nightlife in the city.

MPS Chawla, Owner of Altius Hotel, said: “This is indeed a positive step as due to the restricted hours in Chandigarh, most of the clientele will be going to Mohali. However, UT needs to clarify this position if they will also give us sound permission because without sound there is no point in serving alcohol alone.

Introduction of electric vehicle tax, increase in excise duty

The Chandigarh administration has also increased the excise duty by 5.5% in the Excise Policy 2022-23. In the previous policy of 2021-22, there was a 6% increase in excise duty on foreign liquors made in India.
In the new policy announced on Friday, the administration also said the minimum retail price had also been increased by 5 to 10 percent taking into account input costs and taxes.

UT Administrator Banwarilal Purohit after a detailed presentation by the Advisor to the Administrator, Finance Secretary, Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner for Excise and Taxation and other senior officials of the excise department, approved the new excise policy for the year 2022-23.

It was stated that the new excise policy aims to balance the aspirations of consumers, manufacturers, wholesalers/retailers and the government.
In the policy, it was also stated that Country Liquor’s 65 degree proof was introduced in addition to the existing 50 degree and 60 degree proof. This will increase choice for consumers and make available a better quality of country liquor.

To limit parasitic alcohols, anti-theft seals have also been made mandatory in Country Liquor bottles. In addition, the policy stipulated that only 50% of Country Liquor’s base quota would be divided equally among bottling plants and that 50% of the base quota would remain open. In addition, additional quota will also be kept open. This will increase retailers’ choice of sourcing according to their choice of bottling plant and brand.

The overall base quota has been reasonably increased by 13.4% in line with consultation with stakeholders. In the policy, this time imported RTD (ready to drink) has been allowed for sale at UT Chandigarh. According to the policy, to ensure greater transparency, the allocation of alcohol retail sales will be done through an electronic tendering system.

Meanwhile, an online service for issuing permits/passes and applying for various excise licenses has been introduced.

Now, residents applying for a liquor license for weddings will no longer have to attend Excise and Tax Department offices. Currently, residents have
go to the offices of the excise officers to apply for a permit which is a liquor license for marriages because the system is manual, currently. It would also encourage corrupt practices to get the job done quickly. However, with the introduction of online facility, it will not only put an end to corrupt practices but also make the job easier and easier for the candidate.

In order to promote low alcohol beverages, Chandigarh administration has stated in its policy that license fees and duties have not been increased on beer, wine, RTD (ready to drink), etc

Also, in the liquor sales tender, to ensure that there is better participation, the Chandigarh administration has announced that the EMD (Earnest Money Deposit) has been reduced for better participating in the auction.

Track and trace system

UT has also introduced a track and trace system to combat the illegal sale of alcohol. It has also been stated that the Covid discount (i.e. pro rata inversion of licensing fees) as granted last year will continue in all retail, bars, restaurants , hotels, clubs, etc.

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