Delhi government defers project to shift liquor business online

 NEW DELHI: The Delhi government has deferred implementation of an online project for ordering alcohol from suppliers and paying excise duty in advance due to inconveniences experienced by the users.

The original plan was to make the system mandatory for all the stakeholders in Delhi— about 1,500 in number (including liquor retailers, wholesalers, restaurants & bars and
hotels) — from April 1.

"We have received
feedback from those using the new system. Some find it too time consuming while others located in remote areas have trouble in connecting online," said InduBSE -4.94 % Shekhar Mishra, deputy commissioner, excise department, Government of Delhi.

The department is yet to take a call on when the new system will be made mandatory. "It may take a few months," he added.

The excise department is working with the implementing agency
Tata Consultancy ServicesBSE -0.23 % to address the glitches in the pilot project that was kicked off in February this year.

In a bid to depart from a manual system to keep track of the liquor trade in the Capital and make the trade transparent, the excise department initiated a new system which will not only make it mandatory for liquor wholesalers, retailers and restaurants to book orders online, but also pay excise duty in advance. Suppliers have also been tasked with providing up to date details of stocks available on the same portal. However, not all stakeholders appear to be happy with the initiative.

"We have to now pay excise duty upfront, which increases our working capital requirement by over 50% on a weekly basis," says SantoshJindal, owner of Jade Garden in KarolBagh. Then there is the problem of delay. After an order is placed, a transport permit (valid for 3 days) is generated for the distributor to make delivery.