The government of Andhra Pradesh has banned cross-border alcohol trade without a prior obtained valid permit to reduce alcohol smuggling and revenue loss.

Andhra Pradesh is one of the state governments in India that also increased alcohol taxes during COVID-19. And now that state has banned bringing alcohol into its territory from other states through an order issued on October 26, 2020.

Andhra Pradesh is an Indian state in the south-eastern coastal region of India. It is the seventh largest state by area in the country. It is the 10th most populous state. This state has three capital cities Visakhapatnam (executive), Amaravati (legislative) and Kurnool (judicial).

Committed to preventing and reducing alcohol consumption and related harm in the state the Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy implemented several alcohol availability restrictions last year. These include, the removal of 43,000 unauthorized liquor outlets, the reduction of permitted outlets from 4380 to 2934, the scaling down of sales hours, permitted quantities and the unavailability of some alcohol brands.

The state has long been having legal restrictions on interstate alcohol transit without payment of applicable duties. Recently the Andhra Pradesh High Court directed the government to allow bringing alcohol from other states into the state in permissible limits. According to the order GO 411, these limits are up to three bottles of any size of Indian Made Foreign Liquor, three bottles of foreign liquor, six 650 ml bottles of beer later reduced to three, two bulk litres of toddy.

In order to reduce illicit trade of alcohol the state government constituted a Special Enforcement Bureau in May, 2020. According to officials 48,182 cases of illegal transportation, unauthorized sale, processing of illicit liquor etc., were registered and 59,438 persons arrested till now.

Some of the individuals who were caught transporting alcohol from the state of Telegana into Andhra Pradesh contended at the High Court that they were carrying alcohol in the permissible limits as per the order GO 411. This led the court to issue the above mentioned direction to the state government.

To address this gap in the law the Andhra Pradesh state government has brought in a new GO which prohibits transit of any alcohol from other states into the state without a valid permit granted in advance.

The court was right in basing its direction on those earlier orders. We have now brought in the new GO which explicitly prohibits the transit of even one bottle of liquor into the state, unless with a valid permit granted in advance,” Dr Rajat Bharga special chief secretary, Revenue Department, Andhra Pradesh State Government, India, as per Deccan Herald.

Dr Rajat Bharga, special chief secretary, Revenue Department, Andhra Pradesh State Government, India

For further reading

India: Magnitude of Alcohol Problems

Source Website: Deccan Herald