New Delhi [India], Apr 23 (ANI): Pointing out that states have already lost around Rs 20,000 crore in revenues during the lockdown period so far, the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC) on Thursday urged state governments to impress upon the Centre the urgent need to start sale of liquor in non-COVID-19 hotspots.
Fearing huge financial losses and job cuts, the apex body of Indian alcoholic beverage industry urged the Centre and the state governments to immediately allow sale of liquor shops while strictly following all social distancing guidelines.
It has also called for online sales and home delivery to check overcrowding in shops.
In its letter written to all Chief Ministers (barring states which are under prohibition), CIABC said that constitutionally alcohol is a state matter, and hence it is a state government which should unequivocally be the only authority to permit or not permit trade in alcohol.
It asked state governments to take up the matter once again with the Centre to permit production, distribution and sales of alcoholic beverages outside containment zones in conformity with COVID-19 guidelines.
CIABC Director General Vinod Giri said in these difficult times when entire industry and economic activities are shut, the states' coffers are taking a big hit.
Indian alcoholic beverage industry is the major source of revenue for the state governments. It contributes around Rs two lakh crore per annum as revenues to the government. Tax on alcohol consists of 20 to 40 per cent of state tax revenues.
"We employ 20 lakh workforce and assist livelihood of 40 lakh farmers. Under current circumstances when our earnings are zero, we cannot sustain for long. This will lead to huge job cuts and massive financial losses," said Giri.