Alcohol in Kerala Booming Revenue for Operators

Jan 14 2013

Kerala State Beverages Corporation (BevCo), the State-owned monopoly bootlegger, is set to make a sales turnover of more than Rs9,000 crore this fiscal from sales of India-manufactured foreign liquor (IMFL), beer and wine, registering an increase of over Rs1,200 crore over last year’s figure.Revenue in terms of taxes from liquor sales in Kerala was Rs2,850 crore in 2007-08 when the BevCo turnover was Rs3,670 crore. This rose to Rs3,621 crore in 2008-09 (sales worth Rs4,631 crore) and to Rs4,320 crore the following year when the sales were worth Rs5,538 crore. Revenue again rose to Rs5,250 crore in 2010-11 when the BevCo turnover was Rs6,730 crore.

Calls from anti-liquor crusaders, sociologists and religious collectives for total prohibition or at least stringent measures to control widespread liquor consumption are intensifying by the day in the context of more and more youngsters becoming addicts, rising incidents of family feuds, serious crimes and social evils like rape. But their pleas are falling on deaf ears.

The amount of IMFL sold through the 338 retail outlets of BevCo and 46 of the Kerala State Cooperative Federation (ConsumerFed) has been rising by 20 per cent to 30 per cent every passing year and there has been a corresponding increase in the State’s revenue from booze. Revenue generated through sales in the 708 hotel bars is outside this.The obvious fact is that the Government cannot afford to do anything like that simply because of the volume of revenue it brings to the exchequer every year. “With over 40 per cent of the total revenue collection to the exchequer coming from the sale of liquor, it will be foolish to expect the Government to put checks on boozing,” says sociologist Jayakumar.


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