New Wine, Old Bottle: What changes come into play as Delhi reverts to old excise policy


After allegations of corruption and irregularities, Delhi will be reverting to the old excise regime, starting today (1 September). This policy will continue for the next six months till a new policy replaces it for the next financial year.

What does this mean for customers? What changes will the Capital witness starting today? Will the way Delhi purchases alcohol change?

Here are the answers to these questions and much more.

Why the change in policy?

Before we delve into what changes the Capital will see from today, let’s understand the reasons behind reverting to the old policy.

Ushered in on 16 November 2021, Delhi’s new liquor policy had promised a sea-change — in not just the way Delhiites purchased liquor, but also in the way it was being sold. It drew curtains on the government-owned liquor vends, as the entire business went to private players.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had said the new excise policy was a tool to stamp out the liquor mafia and black marketing. It was also a means to increase revenue.

The new policy had envisaged 849 spacious and air-conditioned liquor vends equitably distributed across 32 zones in the city. Each zone was meant to have 27 liquor shops, all of which would belong to one retail licensee.

In the old excise policy regime, four government corporations ran 475 liquor stores out of a total 864 in Delhi. The rest were run by 389 private individuals.

Also read: AAPnomics: Revenue loss to the state, windfall gains for liquor cartels

So, what went wrong? After just eight months of implementation, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is also the excise minister, announced on 28 July that the Capital would be reverting to the old regime for a period of six months until a fresh policy was put in place.

The move came as allegations of corruption and favouritism in granting liquor licences emerged. Newly-appointed Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena also ordered a CBI inquiry and suspended 11 officers of the Delhi’s Excise department, including the then excise commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna and Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari.

What happens now?

With going back to the old excise policy, the nearly 250 private liquor shops will be a thing of the past and they will be replaced by over 300 Delhi government vends.

Also, all discounts and offers like buy one, get one free, two-plus-three on MRP of liquor price, which were offered by the private vends, will be discontinued.

Moreover, the dry days in the national capital will again go up from three days to 21.

The government-run vends will be run by the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC), Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC), Delhi Consumer’s Cooperative Wholesale Store (DCCWS) and Department of Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation (DSCSC).

As per the announcement, on 1 September, a total of 300 stores will be open. This number will rise to 500 by the end of the first week. By 31 December, the number of liquor shops in the national capital will go up to 700.

With the return to the old excise policy, the city will also see the promotion of draught beer. The excise department has also issued licenses to three to four microbreweries that will start working from the first week of September.

All discounts and offers like buy one, get one free, two-plus-three on MRP of liquor price, which were offered by the private vends, will be discontinued

Will it affect the consumer?

Officials have said the stock for the first week has arrived and consumers won’t be affected. However, Vinod Giri, Director General, Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC) was quoted as telling Live Mint that despite best efforts by the authorities and the industry, the initial days of going back to the old excise policy are not going to be easy.

He noted that after buying heavily-discounted alcohol under the new regime, the customers may not find it easy to access liquor stores as private stores had to down their shutters.

Also, as the discounts being offered under the new regime will no longer be implemented, consumers might find purchasing alcohol to be a slightly more expensive affair.

Restaurant owners, hoteliers, as well as wedding planners are also worried about the disruptions in business, following the Delhi government’s decision to switch to the old excise policy from 1 September.

A new app too

As the old policy comes into effect, the excise department has also launched an exclusive mobile app – ‘Aabkari’. The app is available on Google Play store from 1 September and will be available on iOS shortly after.

The app will show availability of various brands of liquor in Delhi; list of retail vends with its locality; information about dry days; bottle scanner tool to check genuineness of liquor. The app will be available in both English and Hindi.

With inputs from agencies

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New Wine, Old Bottle: What changes come into play as Delhi reverts to old excise policy
New Wine, Old Bottle: What changes come into play as Delhi reverts to old excise policy
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