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All you need to know about AP’s new liquor policy

As the state government continues to move towards imposing prohibition in a phased manner, the new liquor policy has been implemented in Andhra Pradesh. In a major step, the government will take over all 3,500 liquor shops in the state. The new Excise Policy for the year 2019-20 came into effect on October 1. 
 
Previously, it was announced that the liquor shops would remain open from 10 am to 9 pm, but the timings have now been changed through a last-minute amendment to the Andhra Pradesh Excise Rules, 2019. 
 
The shops will now be open for only 9 hours, from 11 am to 8 pm. About 3,500 supervisors and 8,033 salesmen have been recruited to run these outlets. Owing to the shortage of excise staff, the government had also proposed to recruit 678 police constables.
 
The government had earlier announced that the number of liquor outlets will be reduced from 4,380 to 3,500 and will be eventually phased out. The liquor business will be completely run by the government-owned Andhra Pradesh State Beverages Corporation Limited (APSBCL).  The APSBCL had already taken over 475 liquor shops in the state from September 1. 
 
The new policy also includes an Additional Retail Excise Tax (ARET) on the prices of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), foreign liquor, beer, wine and ready-to-drink varieties. With the new tax, the price of a 60 or 90 ml bottle of IMFL will go up by Rs 10, while the cost of a 750 ml bottle can go up by Rs 80. 1000 ml and 2000 ml bottles will cost an extra Rs 250. The cost of a 330 ml beer will also go up by Rs 10, and 650 ml beer by Rs 20. 
 
Drinking alcohol in the store premises will not be allowed. The rules also dictate that liquor shops must not be placed within 100 metres of a place of public worship, educational institution or a hospital. The shops cannot be visible from national or state highways. 
 
Total prohibition was one of the major promises made by YSRCP during their election campaign. The government plans to ensure this in a phased manner and ultimately confine the sale of liquor to only five-star hotels.
 
As an initial step, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy had earlier declared a crackdown on ‘belt shops’ or the illegal extensions of the licensed liquor shops. The state government has also announced the allocation of Rs. 500 crore for setting up of de-addiction centres and for implementation of prohibition.

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