The Rajasthan government is encouraging bars in hotels and restaurants to increase their liquor sales by 10%, The Times of India reported on Friday. In the past few days, around 300 bars in hotels have reportedly received notices to pay a penalty for not selling 10% more liquor, compared to last year.
This development came after the government increased retail liquor prices, licence fees and Value Added Tax this year to shore up its revenues.
“The authorities concerned want us to increase sales by 10%,” the Secretary of Hotel Bar Owners Welfare Association, Dilip Tiwari, told The Times of India. “Many hotels face competition due to the increase in the number of bars and lounges and failed to register a 10% growth in sales. Now these hotels have been issued notices to pay penalty for not selling more alcohol than last year.”
Tiwari stated that it was contradictory that the government frequently raised the prices of liquor on one hand and also expected them to sell more.
The beer prices were increased from Rs 109 per bottle to Rs 127 on June 30, and the cost of Indian Made Foreign Liquor was raised by 15% on Wednesday.
Earlier only retail shops were covered under the policy of increasing liquor offtake from the government by 10% every year. But without any consultation from the bar owners, the excise department brought bars under the policy.
“Bars are on the rise every year, resulting in lower footfalls,” Tiwari said. “For us, it is not possible to increase sales by 10% every year as in the case of retail shops whose number remains constant”.
He added that licence fee for the current year has been increased for bars from Rs 7 lakh to 8 lakh. This came after VAT was raised from 20% to 24%. “The rising cost of liquor is also slowing down sales,” Tiwari said.