It is now a well-known fact that excise duty collected on liquor and the licence fee paid to operate a liquor shop are among the biggest sources of revenue for state governments in India. In a large and populous state like Uttar Pradesh, this means up to 10 per cent of the state’s annual revenue.
For a population of nearly 20 crore, Uttar Pradesh has 27,352 liquor shops. In comparison, Delhi, with a little over 1.5 crore people, has 850 liquor shops. In the financial year 2020-21, Uttar Pradesh earned Rs 30,061 crore in excise duty and licence fee from liquor shops.
This raises a question as to which government in Uttar Pradesh figured out that a higher number of liquor shops would fill up the state’s coffers more.
To find an answer to this and analyse the performance of recent governments in Uttar Pradesh, India Today TV filed a Right to Information (RTI) application with the state’s excise department.
The reply provided data for the past 15 years, spanning three governments, that of BJP’s Yogi Adityanath, his predecessor Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati.
In the RTI application, we also asked how much revenue the state has generated through licence fees and excise duty every year.
In its reply, the Uttar Pradesh government said in the four years of Yogi Adityanath’s government–between 2017-18 and 2020-2021–2,076 new liquor shops got a licence across the four different kinds of retails shops allowed i.e. Indian liquor, foreign liquor, beer shop and model shop.
In this period, the state saw a 74 per cent jump in revenue, which went up from Rs 17,320 crore to Rs 30,061.
During Akhilesh Yadav’s tenure, which broadly corresponds to the financial years 2012-13 to 2016-17, 2,566 new liquor shops got licences. The state government’s revenue in this period went up from Rs 22,377 crore to Rs 24,943 i.e. an increase of around 11.5 per cent.
Mayawati was Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister from May 2007 to March 2012. In her five years, the number of liquor shops in the state went up by 3,621.
In the financial year 2007-08, there were 17,287 shops. This number increased to 20,908 by the year 2011-12. The government’s income from liquor went up from Rs 3,948 crore to Rs 8,139 crore, a jump of 106 per cent.
Mayawati’s tenure saw the highest number of liquor shops opening up if we compare the three governments.
- In four years of Yogi Adityanath’s tenure, 2,076 new liquor shops got licence–an average of 519 shops every year.
- In his five years, Akhilesh Yadav’s government issued licences to 2,566 new liquor shops–an average of 513 shops every year.
- In comparison, Mayawati’s government issued 3,621 new licences–an average of 724 shops every year.
Besides these, the RTI reply from the UP government shows that in the past decade, the state government’s revenue has seen a jump of 269 per cent from Rs 8,139 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 30,061 crore in 2020-21.
In the past four years (April 2017 to March 2021), revenue from liquor has almost doubled from Rs 17,320 crore to Rs 30,061 crore. On average, each liquor shop provides an annual revenue of Rs 1.10 crore to the state government.