As the reopening of liquor shops has caused a grave violation of the social distancing norms, the Andhra Pradesh led by Jagan Mohan Reddy has on Tuesday increased the prices of liquor by 50 percent. Earlier on Monday, the Andhra government imposed a 25 percent hike as shops were reopened in relaxation of the ongoing lockdown due to the outbreak of deadly coronavirus. Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) Rajat Bhargava said the abnormal increase in liquor rates was to 'discourage' people from consumption and safeguard health.
The enhanced rates would come into force with immediate effect, he said. The state government also decided to open liquor outlets from 12 noon, instead of 11 am, till 7 pm. Sources said the fresh hike (50 percent) in rates could fetch an additional revenue of Rs 9,000 crore per annum to the cash-starved state government. The entire liquor business in AP is controlled by the state government through its own retail outlets, numbering 3,468. Sources said Chief Minister Reddy directed that 15 percent of the retail liquor shops be closed down by this month-end.
As the lockdown 3.0 began on Monday with reopening of liquor shops, norms of social distancing went for a toss. Taking action to limit the crowd outside the liquor shops, Chief Minister Arvind-Kejriwal led Delhi Government in a late-night notification imposed "Special Corona Fees" of 70% tax on the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of the liquor. The Finance Department of the Delhi government said, "70 percent of the maximum retail price (will be levied) on all categories of liquor sold through retail licensees for consumption."
READ | Coronavirus Live Updates
On Friday, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification extending the nationwide lockdown by 2 weeks from May 4. The notification states the considerable relaxations in districts falling in green and orange zones allowed by MHA, will continue to remain in place. The Union Health Ministry has divided districts across the nation as red (classified based on total active cases, doubling rate, the extent of testing and surveillance) - 130 districts, orange (those neither in green or red zones) - 284 districts and green zones (Zero cases for past 21 days) - 319 districts. Restrictions too have been lifted accordingly. Currently, India has 46433 cases with 1568 deaths, 12727 cured/discharged/migrated.