Revenue boost as Pune drinks up in 2018

Pune,Revenue boost,alcohol

Tipplers from the city consumed a record amount of alcohol in 2018 with 19.25 per cent more during April to December as compared to previous year, the reflection of which is in higher revenue collection, according to statistics released by state excise department.

Higher sale of alcohol has brought good news for state excise department as the revenue earned has increased by 9.18 percent for Pune district. Higher sale of alcohol and its reflection in more revenue is a boon for the excise department as the sale of liquor had undergone a severe hit in 2017 due to Supreme Court ruling banning sale and service of alcohol within 500 metres of highways. The Ban was lifted in July 2017.

According to statistics revealed by the Pune branch of state excise department, liquor sales in Pune showed an unprecedented increase which includes Country Liquor by 23.17 per cent, Indian manufactured foreign liquor (IMFL) by 14.96 per cent, Beer by 11.92 per cent and Wine by 26.95 per cent.

The state excise department collected ₹1195.07 crore from April to December 2018 against ₹1094.62 crore collected from April to December 2017. As per officials,in 2018 revenue collection rate saw an increase by almost 9.18 per cent.

In the nine months from April 2018 to December 2018, Pune consumed 209.93 bl (bulk litres) of country liquor,which is 39.4 bl more than what was consumed during the same period in 2017.

As far as country Indian manufactured foreign liquor (IMFL) is concerned, it also saw a hike in consumption by 14.96 per cent. IMFL sale between April 2018 and December in 2018 was 250.24 bl as compared to 217.68 bl during the same period in 2017.In the case of Beer, sale from April to December in 2018 was 377.64 bl as against 337.42 bl during the same period in 2017.Along with that, sale of wine also witnessed a rise by 26.95 per cent. From April to December in 2018, the sale of wine was 10.50 bl as against 8.28 bl during the same period in 2017.

“There has been no specific reason behind the spike in sale of alcohol, but the possible reasons could be increasing population,changing culture and the recently lifted government ban on serving of liquor along the highways,” said SD Phulpagar, deputy superintendent, state excise department, Pune.

Shivaji Khandve,president of Pune district wine merchants association said, “Due to strict vigilance by state excise department on illegal trade of liquor from adjoining states, there has been an increased sale of liquor in Pune. As far as our industry is concerned we are happy with these figure and hopes trend continues.”

Statistics further revealed that from April to December 2018,Punities served around 848.31 bl of liquor through 2,600 liquor establishments in Pune district.

Excise department seized liquor worth Rs 4.68 cr in April -December 2018

The Pune branch of the state excise department registered 2,343 cases of illegal sale of liquor in the city from April to December 2018 which was less by 264 as compared to cases registered in the same period in 2017.

In connection to the registered 2,343 cases the state excise department, arrested 1,599 people and seized 163 vehicles. During this nine-month-period, the excise department seized liquor worth ₹4.68 crore.

“Criminal activities in our jurisdiction have dropped significantly.The credit goes to our team,as per guideline issued by our seniors we have kept strict vigilance through the city and district to prevent illegal trade of liquor,” said SD Phulpagar,deputy superintendent,state excise department, Pune. Those engaged in illegal trade of liquor should consider themselves warned as this drive will be continued through the year, added Phulpagar.

In 2017,Pune branch of the state excise department seized liquor worth ₹ 6.64 crore in 2,607 cases registered with them. In connection to the registered cases they arrested 1,497 criminals and seized 207 vehicles from Pune district.

As far as 2018 is concerned, December month was said to be very busy in terms of keeping tabs on illegal liquor activity for state excise department. The excise department registered 366 cases in December 2018 the highest in the year while September 2018 saw registration of 207 cases, the lowest in 2018. A similar trend was seen in 2017,when December 2017 recorded the highest cases with 447 illegal liquor cases and April 2017 registered 180 illegal trading cases, the lowest in 2017.


Indonesia woos Indian airlines to boost bilateral trade

During 2017, about 485,000 Indian visitors – or more than 1,300 a day – had travelled to Indonesia and the number for 2018 was expected to be about 600,000, the people cited above said.(REUTERS)

Indonesia is keen on Indian carriers starting flights to the country and renewing their air services agreement as part of efforts to boost bilateral trade and commercial relations, people familiar with developments said.

The leaders of India and Indonesia had directed civil aviation authorities of both sides to discuss enhancing of traffic rights through bilateral air services consultations during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Jakarta in May 2018. They had also emphasised the urgency of establishing more flight connectivity.

“Air connectivity continues to be a challenge as no Indian carrier is flying to Indonesia now. Given the number of Indians who visit Indonesia every year, the routes should be profitable for Indian airlines,” a person said.

During 2017, about 485,000 Indian visitors had travelled to Indonesia and the number for 2018 was expected to be about 600,000, the people cited above said. The issue of Indian carriers starting flights had become more pressing as Indonesian airlines will touch the limit of 28 direct flights a week to India under the existing air services agreement, they said. Garuda Indonesia had started direct flights between Bali and Mumbai from April 2018 and Batik Air and Air Asia Indonesia have launched flights serving Indonesian and Indian cities.

The people also said there was a lot of room for increasing bilateral trade, which had touched almost $20 billion in 2017. At the same time, India’s rice and bovine meat exports had increased and Indonesia is discussing the import of sugar from India, they said. Indonesia has invited Indian businesses to help develop the port on Sabang island, close to Malacca Strait and efforts are on to convince Indian businesses of the advantages of investing there, they added.


Waterway projects to boost N-E connectivity

Waterway projects,northeast,Shipping ministry

The Centre is working on developing a network of waterway projects spread over 4,000 kilometres in the North-East and neighbouring countries like Bangladesh to enhance connectivity to the region as part of its Act East policy of developing better economic and political relations with South-East Asia.

The seven states of India’s northeastern region are dependent on a narrow stretch of about 22-kilometre land in West Bengal’s Siliguri for connectivity to the rest of the country. Nepal and Bangladesh are located on either side of the corridor.

The shipping ministry made a presentation regarding the waterway projects to the Fifteenth Finance Commission, on January 2. It said the network was aimed to connect “heart of India” to the region’s “extreme end” to boost trade.

“We are working towards the decongestion of the highly congested Siliguri Corridor and establishing an alternate modal choice for cargo and passenger movement,” a shipping ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

The India-Bangladesh Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT), which was signed in 2015, allows Indian and Bangladeshi vessels to use identified waterways in the two countries.

The two countries had decided that the 309-kilometre Ashuganj-Zakiganj stretch of the Kushiyara River and 146-kilometre Sirajganj-Daikhowa that of the Jamuna will be developed for round the year navigation as part of PIWTT at a cost of Rs 300 crore.

The Sirajganj-Daikhowa stretch can facilitate connectivity between National Waterway-1 (the Ganga) and National Waterway-2 (the Brahmaputra) and enable movement of larger vessels from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to Assam’s Sadiya, via Bangladesh.

India is working to develop the National Waterway-1 as part of the World Bank-funded Rs 5,369 crore Jal Marg Vikas Project from Haldia in West Bengal to Varanasi.

Bangladesh and India also signed an agreement for passenger and cruise services. India will also soon be able to use Bangladesh’s busiest ports — Chittagong and Mongla — for cargo movement.

In Myanmar, India is working on Rs 904.04 crore Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project to provide an alternate route to the North-East. It will connect Myanmar’s Sittwe Port to the region. It is expected to contribute to North-East’s economic development by opening up the sea route to it. It, too, will reduce pressure on the Siliguri Corridor, the shipping ministry noted in its presentation.

“We are providing connectivity between Haldia and Kolkata by sea up to Sittwe (539 kilometres) through inland waterways terminal up to Paletwa (158 kilometres) and by road (121 kilometres) to the Indo-Myanmar Border to Mizoram. We have already completed phase 1, which involved sea dredging on Sittwe-Paletwa stretch of Kaladan river. The road construction along the border has also begun,” the official said.

India is also looking to establish inland waterway connectivity between India and Nepal as decided during the Nepalese Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli’s visit to India in April 2018.