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India Increases Tax On Alcohol By 70% To Discourage Large Crowds

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Liquor tax in India was increased by 70 per cent, following the ease in lockdown on Tuesday, in a bid to discourage large gatherings at stores to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Taxes on alcohol are the main source of profits for many of India’s 36 states and federal territories, most of which are already facing an economic fallout because of the ongoing lockdown and pandemic crisis. 

As the liquor stores reopened, people had thronged around the area and police had to take control of the public for not following the regulations for social distancing. The lockdown is set to run until May 17.

A “special corona fee” was announced by the Delhi state government in a public notice late on Monday.

“It was unfortunate that chaos was seen at some shops in Delhi,” said Arvind Kejriwal, the state’s chief minister.

“If we come to know about violations of social distancing and other norms from any area, then we will have to seal the area and revoke the relaxations there,” he added.

Other states, such as southern Andhra Pradesh, also had to implement strict measures to ensure social distancing as people kept violating, so prices had to be increased as a deterrent. 

The increases come as India reported 3,900 new infections on Tuesday for its highest single day rise, taking the tally to 46,432. The death toll stood at 1,568, the health ministry said.

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