Covid-19 Update & Liquor Stores Reopen

After the arrival of non-resident Keralaites from Gulf countries, the Maldives and from hotspots in other states in India in early May, Kerala saw a major leap in the number of COVID-19 infections. An expert committee, led by Dr B. Ikbal, public health expert and member of the state planning board, advised the state government on May 26 to upgrade the quarantine measures from home to room quarantines. The police have also intensified their surveillance of those under quarantine, and have been strictly registering cases against those flouting the rules. On May 26 alone, cases were registered against 3,261 people for not wearing face masks in public places. And between May 4 and May 26, cases were registered against 453 people who violated quarantine rules.

the LDF government in Kerala has found the perfect reason to broad base its liquor sale and completely demolish the no-alcohol policy of the previous Congress-led UDF government. The government opened up liquor sales on 28 May, after over two months of lockdown, but only after it took a number of decisions to augment sale and, by extension, revenue. or one, the state has allowed the retail sale of liquor through private bar counters. As a result, the LDF government has commandeered the support of another 867 sales points, comprising 576 bar-attached hotels and 291 beer parlours. Before the lockdown, the state’s liquor retail outreach was limited to 265 outlets of Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco), supplemented by 36 Consumer Federation sales points.

The state government has also enforced a new astronomical tax structure under which tax is levied at 247 per cent of the basic cost of liquor, up from 212 per cent before the lockdown.This is among the highest in the country. For instance, in Maharashtra, which has allowed home delivery of liquor, 72 per cent goes as excise and VAT to the government on every bottle sold.