Faced with huge revenue losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and the prolonged lockdown in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday gave the go-ahead to the imposition of COVID cess on liquor with immediate effect.
The move will help the state mop additional revenues of Rs 145 crore in the current fiscal, a government statement said.
The state is facing a revenue shortfall of Rs 26,000 crore, which is 30 per cent of the total budget revenue estimates for FY 2020-21, necessitating some tough measures to generate additional revenue, said the Chief Minister, while accepting the recommendation of the group of ministers, which was constituted on May 12 to examine the matter, to levy additional excise duty on liquor during the current financial year.
The proceeds of the additional levy shall be utilised entirely for COVID related expenditure, said the Chief Minister, directing the Department of Excise and Taxation to charge the cess in the current year.
Amarinder Singh had earlier asked the group of ministers, comprising the Finance Minister, the Education Minister, the Housing and Urban Development Minister and the Forests and Wildlife Minister, to examine the proposal regarding levy of special cess or COVID cess on the sale of liquor to partially recoup some of the revenue losses amid this unprecedented crisis.