The extra cess could be anywhere between 10 to 20 per cent
Liquor may not be good for your health, but every swig of your favourite drink is now going to keep the cows healthy in Rajasthan. The state government is in a process of imposing cow cess, a surcharge, on price of liquor. The decision is on the lines of the cow cess levied on stamp duty on sale or lease of property deeds, already in practice in state.
“The cabinet has given its in-principle approval to the decision through cabinet circulation,” a senior official told media. The introduction of cow cess will come into force this year after the VAT rules are amended. “It has also been agreed to increase the cow cess from current level of 10 per cent to 20 per cent on the stamp duty. The proceeds of this amount collected will be utilised for the welfare and protection of cows in the state,” the official said. The Vasundhara Raje government had introduced a cow cess surcharge of 10 per cent on stamp duty for welfare of cows last year.
The introduction of cow cess in liquor will lead to a spike in the prices of branded liquor and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) in state. Sources said that the cabinet has also given its nod for the amendment in Rajasthan VAT rules. “The rate of surcharge will be decided by the department of finance after the ordinance is issued by the state government,” the source added.
The idea of a cess for cow welfare was introduced to create a dedicated fund for the welfare and betterment of cows in the state. This was necessitated after the dismal condition of the largest cow shelter run by the municipal corporation in Jaipur was exposed by the untimely deaths of thousands of cows over several years. The measure will help government get funds for cattle feed of cows and their upkeep in more than 1500 cow shelters across the state. According to sources, the state government was aiming to collect up to 500 crore rupees through cow cess, when it was first introduced last year.
Rajasthan already has a dedicated “Gaupalan” department (department of bovine welfare) and needs funds for carrying out the activities for welfare of cows. In her budget presented last year, chief minister Vasundhara Raje had announced the introduction of this surcharge. The proposal will get a legal status through an ordinance. Later an amendment to this end would be passed in the state assembly when the monsoon session is in progress, officials said.