CIABC seeks removal of rules discriminating against Indian products in Delhi's 2023-24 excise policy

by IANS |

New Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) The Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC) has written to the Delhi government making a strong 'vocal for local' pitch as it sought removal of rules that discriminate against Indian-made products and promote imports in the forthcoming excise policy for 2023-24.

Suggesting measures for incorporation in the forthcoming excise policy for the next financial year, the representative body of the Indian alcoholic beverage manufacturers, in its detailed submission to the Delhi government, has urged improvement in ease of doing business rules, rationalisation of wholesale operations, simplification of new product launch process, and digitisation of all operational processes.

Flagging the issue of discrimination against Indian made products and promote imports, the CIABC has stated: "These are regulatory anomalies from the past when India was perceived to be a low-quality producer. For example, the license fee for an imported whisky is Rs 50,000 per year, but if the same product is made in India, it will become minimum Rs 25 lakh. Today when India is producing world-class malt whiskies and craft gins, such rules stick out as simply bizarre. The new excise policy that came into being in November 2021 had addressed these issues but with its withdrawal in toto, the matter is back on table. We hope that the Government offers at least parity, if not preferential treatment, for India-made products."

On the submissions, CIABC Director General Vinod Giri said: "Every year we approach state Governments with suggestions that would make the alcohol regulation work for the benefit of all stakeholders, i.e., the government, the industry, trade and the consumers. Delhi, being the national capital has its own special needs and we tailor our recommendations to best serve that purpose."

The CIABC has also recommended opening of world-class private retail shops across the city, reopening of trend-setting airport shops, reducing drinking age to 21, and bringing retail timing and number of dry days in sync with the neighbouring states. For improving ease of doing business, it has sought rationalisation of wholesale operations, simplification of new product launch process, and digitisation of remaining operational processes.

It has also raised the increase in cost of production of raw material needed for producing alcoholic beverages such as ENA, glass, paper, fuel and sought permission to pass it on to consumers as it is done in case of other industries.

Besides suggestions for the upcoming excise policy, the CIABC, in its letter, also seeks resolution to its long-pending request for permission to sell stocks left over at the wholesale due to frequent change in the excise policy during 2021-22 and 2022-23, besides clearance of old overdue payments to companies.

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