New Delhi, Jan. 31 (FN Bureau) Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC), the apex body of Indian alcoholic beverage industry on Sunday welcomed the initiative by the Delhi Government to overhaul the sales and distribution of alcohol in the city. It also welcomed progressive suggestions such as lowering of age bar for drinking, reduction in dry days, and opening up of more retail shops. “We applaud this bold initiative, and the methodical consultative manner that it is being conducted in. We totally agree with the objectives and overall direction. At the same time, we have requested the Government to make some changes so as to ensure smooth transition, minimize disruption and prevent negative fall outs,” said Mr Vinod Giri, the Director General of CIABC.
Through a letter submitted to the government, CIABC has supported setting up government owned wholesaling corporation but favoured to plan the transition carefully, giving sufficient notice and preventing business disruption. CIABC has also demanded that all products whether produced domestically or imported should be distributed through the same corporation and must be treated in the same manner. “Some proposals seem to favour imported products at the expense of Indian made products and should be done away with. These include keeping imported products outside the proposed Corporation and charging less brand license fees for imported products. Government should aid growth of Indian industry and not the other way round,” said Mr Giri.
CIABC has welcomed progressive suggestions such as reduction in dry days, and opening up of more retail shops. However, it has firmly opposed any changes in the current qualification criteria to sell products in Delhi saying that the proposed change will badly affect products that constitute 80-90% of sales in Delhi. Commenting on privatization of retail, Mr Giri said: “We welcome more private retail shops which, besides making products more accessible, will also earn Government more revenue. At the same time, we would caution the Government not to stop its own retailing in a hurry as its presence has a stabilizing effect on trade.”