Delhi Government, led by Arwind Kejriwal, has decided to withdraw 70% ‘Corona cess’ that it put on all liquor sold in the region. New prices will be imposed on the same from June 10th. Reports show that the decision was taken due to an increase in tax pilferages. They have also increased the VAT on liquor items being purchased from 20% to 25%.
On May 5th, the government had allowed the opening of several liquor shops in the national capital and had imposed a corona fee of 70% in order to raise additional revenue during the lockdown. As these shops opened, we saw a mass population come out to buy liquor items and many of them violated the social distancing norms that had been put in place. Certain precautions like wearing a mask, gloves and standing on a marked circle to avoid the spread of coronavirus were ignored. Delhi police announced that it had to close down certain shops due to overcrowding and violation of these norms. Such chaos was seen in various areas in East Delhi.
Such a scenario compelled the government to announce the use of E- token for the purchase of liquor from these outlets. All citizens could acquire these from the site- https://www.qtoken.in. The details would then be sent to the buyer who could just go to the nearest shop and purchase liquor without standing in a crowd/ queue.
Meanwhile, the decision of opening the liquor shops was questioned by many residents of the state that argued that it is not a necessity and the people should stay at home to avoid spreading of coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases in Delhi stands at 27,000+ out of which more than 10,000 people have recovered. However, the number of cases reported per day is increasing every day.
This decision of withdrawing the special corona fee may also entice a lot of people to come and buy liquor, which may create a bigger problem for the government. Government is currently working on making arrangements to ensure safety of citizens as more liquor shops open up and that all buying these items adhere to the social distancing norms.