Chandigarh [India], June 6 (ANI): In a move to tighten the noose on illicit liquor traders in Punjab, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday set up an excise reforms group to break the nexus between producers, wholesalers and retailers.
According to an official release, the five-member group has been asked to submit its recommendations on destroying any such nexus within 60 days, paving the way for the elimination of illicit liquor trade and maximisation of the state's excise revenue, as stated by an official spokesperson.
The group includes Housing and Urban Development Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Public Works Minister Vijay Inder Singla, among other officials.
Working in parallel with the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which has been tasked with the investigation into all aspects of the illicit liquor trade in the state, the group will identify the gaps leading to revenue losses for the state due to such complicity.
The Chief Minister has mandated the group to come out with its suggestions on long-term legal and administrative reforms, after due diligence and consultations with the stakeholders.
The Department of Excise and Taxation would provide the requisite information and other assistance to the group to facilitate its functioning, said the spokesperson.
Singh further pointed out that despite various policy changes and measures by the Department of Excise and Taxation, the inadequate increase in excise revenue, as well as illicit liquor trading, remained a matter of concern.
The outcomes of these measures had not been on expected lines, thus necessitating deeper examination of the issues to formulate and implement long-term excise reforms, he added.
Earlier today, the Chief Minister had announced the formation of SIT to probe the illicit sale and smuggling of liquor in the state during the COVID-19 lockdown. (ANI)