Shillong: The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly witnessed a ‘spirited’ conversation when the minister in-charge of Excise Kyrmen Shylla on Tuesday informed the House that the state government does not intend to legalise local alcoholic brew from fermented rice.

Responding to a question raised by MLA Syntar Klas Sunn, Shylla explained that the state cannot allow local alcoholic brew from fermented rice as rice is the staple food of the citizens and primarily used for food only. Shylla also informed that as Meghalaya is a non-milling state, broken rice was not available.

Sunn sought clarification from Shylla, stating that rum is for consumption, to which Shylla replied was that rice is also for consumption. Why is there a difference in the consumption of rum and the consumption of rice?

At this point, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma intervened, stating that the question was going on a wrong trajectory. “I don’t think it is fair to compare the consumption of rice and rum,” said Sangma.

He added that rice is the staple diet of the state. Meghalaya produces about 3 lakh metric tons, while it consumes about 4 lakh metric tons. “There is a clear shortage in the supply of rice, so therefore consumption of rice is a priority because it is a staple diet of the state, and rum consumption topic is individuals desire it is an option,” clarified Sangma.

Sunn questioned the government why they couldn’t legalise local alcoholic brew from fermented rice, since it would boost the economy and generate employment.

Sangma said that MLA Sunn’s question was genuine, but with a shortage of rice, diverting rice meant for consumption and to breweries would affect the primary food and staple diet of the state.

Also Read | Meghalaya govt still unsure if Centre will implement ILP in state

Meanwhile, Shylla informed the House on the revenue collected by the department from Excise Duty on IMFL during the following years: 2017-2018 — Rs 199.30 crore; 2018-2019 — Rs 226 21 crore; 2019-2020 — Rs 276.27 crore; 2020-2021 (upto January) is Rs 268.79 crore.

Revenue collection from VAT imposed by the department on sale of IMFL during: 2017-18 –- 180.00 (in crore); 2018-19- 160.00 (in crore); 2019-20- 204.31 (in crore); 2020-21 – 140.00 (in crore).

The different slab of Excise Duty (ED)

  • Regular brand 86% of the cost price subject to a minimum of Rs 500
  • General brand 85% of the cost price subject to a minimum of Rs 600
  • Deluxe prestige brand 88% of the coat price subject to a minimum of Rs 810
  • Deluxe premium brand 74% of the cost price subject to a minimum of Rs 910
  • Semi premium brand 35% of the cost price subject to a minimum of Rs 1,150
  • Premium brand 25% of the cost price subject to minimum of Rs 1,350
  • Super premium brand 12.2% of the cost price subject to a minimum Rs 1,550
  • BIO liquor/wine special fee of Rs 1,000 per case
  • BIO Beer special fee of Rs 500 per case
  • Beer (Strong) 25% of the cost price subject to a minimum of Rs 131
  • Beer (light) 15% of the cost price subject to a minimum of Rs 80.70
  • Wine 14% of the cost price subject to a minimum of Rs 180
  • Home Made Wine Rs 100 per case

There is only one slab of rate under the Meghalaya Value Added Tax Act 2003, for levy of tax on sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) products which is 40% with effect from March 15, 2017, with 20% concession of rate on Rum sold in Central Defence Service Canteens to Defence personnel for own consumption.

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