Bar owners in Maharashtra have welcomed the Maharashtra Government’s decision to give concession in the liquor license fees for the lockdown period and on the rollback on the proposed annual hike.
The Maharashtra cabinet on Dec 23 gave a 50 percent concession on license fees for the lockdown period and withdrew a 15 percent increase in license fee for FY21 given the losses caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The concession in license fees is for FL III which is a permit room license and FL IV, a club license where imported and Indian liquor is served, and 30 percent discount in license fees in Form E that is mild liquor & wine bar license and Form E2 for wine bar license.
The Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR), the apex body of the industry welcomed 50 percent waiver in license fee and rollback of the proposed 15 percent annual hike.
Shivanand Shetty, President AHAR welcomed the 50 percent waiver in license fee and said this decision which will help the beleaguered industry which was shut for 7 months due to the lockdown.
“This is a very positive step towards supporting the industry which has been badly hit due to the pandemic related lockdown. We expect such kind of steps in the coming days too which will help the industry to bounce back to some normalcy,” Shetty said.
“Our industry is the second largest employment provider with 60 lakh direct employment in and around Mumbai and 2 crores indirect employment and this will help the Government too on the revenue front,” he added.
The liquor shops were shut between 38 days to 190 days during the lockdown period and the concessions were granted considering the losses due to the lockdown.
The country’s hospitality sector suffered huge damage due to the unprecedented crisis caused by Covid-19. Zero business during the last seven months, negative cash flows, threats of insolvency, and millions of job losses devastated the sector.
Another restaurant owner, Piyush Rathi, who runs restaurants and bars under the banner Vishal Restaurant, Gaurav Restaurant, Prem Residency in the Vidarbha region also welcomed the Maharashtra government’s and said, “We have been asked for this concession for several quarters and finally our request have been answered.This step will give us at least some breather as we have been suffering due to huge losses due to the lockdown.”
The decision will be applicable to 15,000 permit rooms, 47 clubs, 5,000 beer shops, and 60 wine shops.
According to the press release, the 50% waiver will increase the financial burden by Rs 361 crore on the government. The state excise is a major source of revenue for the state.In FY20, revenue of Rs 15,429 crore was collected and Rs 909.10 crore was collected through the excise license renewal fees.