J&K's new Excise Policy comes into force

The Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday approved the Excise Policy 2021-22 and it comes into force from April 1, 2021.

As per the notification issued by the J&K Finance Department, the Excise Policy 2021-22 will come into force on April 1, 2021 and will continue to remain in force till March 31, 2022.

“However, the government of Jammu and Kashmir may revise the same at any point during the course of the year. The licenses shall be issued as per the provisions of J&K Excise Act, 1958 and the rules framed there under,” the notification said.

“Its objective is to encourage transition from high to low alcoholic content beverages; rationalize the number of taxes/duties and other levies to optimize revenues for common good, check bootlegging/smuggling of liquor in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir from neighbouring states/union territories and provide choice of brands and places for consumption to its consumers and a level playing field to all the stake holders,” the notification said. Detailing about the types of Licenses and issuance thereof, the notification stated that a licensee holding JKEL-lA license would be allowed to import liquor from any of its own distilleries or the distilleries located outside J&K “with which it has a valid agreement to produce or bottle liquor on its behalf after paying a fee of Rs. 5.00 lakh for each source.” As per the new policy, in case of retail trade except JKEL-2, the licenses for operating liquor vends shall be granted strictly in-accordance with the provisions of the ‘ J&K Excise Act, Svt.1958 and rules framed thereunder’.

“The Excise Commissioner shall grant new licenses for retail sale of liquor on the premises viz., Type B as per the provisions of ‘J&K Excise Act, Svt. 1958’; and ‘J&K Liquor License and Sale Rules, 1984’; at the locations as he/she may deem fit keeping in view the revenue potential on account of tourism activity or in general to provide a legitimate place to the consumers to curb the illegitimate consumption of liquor at unauthorized premises in the area,” the notification said.

Under the new policy, a non-refundable processing fee of Rs fifty thousand shall be charged for processing requests for grant of Type A and B licenses. The department shall continue to issue Type D and Type E licenses as per the existing procedure.

In case of Micro-brewery (JKEL-7D), the policy say that to encourage transition from high to low alcohol content beverages, the department shall issue Micro-brewery Licenses at the locations permitted by the Excise Commissioner.

In case of Type-C licenses (JKEL-2), Retail Vends shall be allotted in the form of individual units for the year 2021-22 on locations mentioned in the Policy. The Excise Department shall grant licenses for off-premises retail sale of liquor (JKEL-2), through e-auction. The department shall initially allot the number of vends as already allotted /operated in the said areas to domiciles of the UT of J&K.

With regard to the mode of allotment, the policy say that the allotment of vends shall be made by e-auction portal i.e. https://jkexcisedept.auctiontiger.net in a completely secure and transparent manner. The detailed procedure for e-Auction/bidding instructions to the bidders shall be available on the e-auction portal and the official website of the Department i.e.www.jkexcise.nic.in.

Spelling out the eligibility criteria, the policy mentions that the Bidder should not be below the age of 21 years and be a domicile of UT of Jammu & Kashmir. He/she should be solvent up to 100 percent of the bid value and should not have been convicted/charge sheeted for any offence under the J&K Excise Act or facing a trial in any Criminal Court for any non-bailable offence or has criminal antecedents. He should not be defaulter of the Excise Department. The bidder must also satisfy the eligibility criteria specified in the J&K Liquor license and Sale rules 1984.

With regard to number of locations that can be bid for, the policy specifies that a “bidder shall have to pay EMD/Bid Fee separately for each bid. However, to obviate the possibility of cartelization and monopolistic practices, only one location shall be allotted to a bidder for which bid is the highest.” On account of participation/registration fee, it mentions that non-refundable/non-adjustable Participation/Registration fee of Rs 25,000 to be paid online through portal as per the link provided.

“In case of non-participation, the registration fee shall stand forfeited. Earnest Money shall be Rs. 5.00 Lac for each vend. The minimum reserve price to bid for each vend shall be Rs 51 lakhs,” the Policy said.