Kerala cabinet approves new liquor policy promoting toddy, production of beer, foreign liquor within state
The Kerala government gave its nod on Wednesday to a new liquor policy promoting the production and sale of traditional toddy across the state and proposing to manufacture the maximum quantity of foreign liquor and beer within the state.
The Kerala government gave its nod on Wednesday to a new liquor policy promoting the production and sale of traditional toddy across the state and proposing to manufacture the maximum quantity of foreign liquor and beer within the state. A cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here approved the liquor policy for the years 2023-24 on Wednesday, a CMO statement said.
Addressing a press conference here later, Excise Minister M B Rajesh said the new policy mainly covers three aspects, including the toddy sector, foreign liquor, and the government's anti-liquor and drug campaign.
Potential areas would be identified in each area of the state, and toddy production would be promoted there, he said. "Toddy production will be promoted in all parts of Kerala on a plantation basis... Toddy produced in the state will be branded as Kerala Toddy," Rajesh said.
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Instead of throwing away the excess toddy after the respective days' sale, all-women network Kudumbashree would be entrusted with the task of making value-added products like vinegar from it, he said. A track-and-trace system would also be implemented to accurately monitor the transportation of toddy in the state, he explained.
Under the policy, the fees for issuing bar licences would be increased to Rs 35,00,000 from the present Rs 30,00,000, Rajesh said. A mechanism would also be put in place to manufacture the maximum quantity of foreign liquor and beer within the state, the minister added.
Necessary arrangements would be made in the existing rules for the promotion of the export of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL), Rajesh said, adding that exorbitant registration and export fees, which adversely impact liquor exports, would be restructured to encourage it.
Necessary legislation would also be made to produce and distribute mild alcohol and wine from fruits available in the state, he said. Stating that as many as 559 foreign liquor outlets are permitted in the state, he said only 309 of them are in operation and steps will be taken to open the remaining ones.
An amendment to the existing rules to serve foreign liquor in IT parks is in progress as well, he said. Similarly, rules would be framed in consultation with the Industries Department to issue licences to serve liquor on eligible premises in IT-like industrial parks, the minister added.
The new Liquor Policy also proposes to further strengthen 'Vimukthi', the government's ambitious campaign against the use of liquor and narcotic substances, particularly by school students.
'Vumukthi Clubs' have already been formed in schools, and student police members have been deployed along with Excise officials to carry out a detailed study to reduce narcotic consumption among youngsters, he said. Steps would also be taken to declare panchayats as 'Vimukthi model panchayats' considering their actions with regard to the anti-drug campaign, the minister added.
The process of QR code labelling of liquor bottles being sold through the state-run Beverages Corporation would be completed this year to ensure transparency in liquor distribution in the state, he added.
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