The Tamil Nadu government is reported to have raked in a whopping Rs 26,995 crore in the financial year 2016-17 through the sale of liquor via its state-owned liquor outlets.
The Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Limited (TASMAC) currently runs 6,300 retail outlets and an average revenue realisation per outlet works out to Rs 80 crore. The total revenue of the state as per the latest budget presented by state Finance Minister D Jayakumar is around Rs 1,59,363 crore which indicates that close to a fifth of the state’s revenue comes in from the sale of liquor.
Critics of the state’s several populist ‘cradle to grave’ welfare models have accused it of bankrolling its schemes through liquor sales.
In the year 2015-16, the government realised revenues of Rs 25,845 crore through the sale of liquor by its outlets.
Close to five per cent growth in revenue in the current financial year was achieved despite the closure of 500 outlets under the state government’s phased prohibition plan.
In May 2016, the then chief minister of the state J Jayalalithaa had ordered closure of the outlets consistent with the promise made in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam manifesto.
Incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956, TASMAC was originally established in 1983 with a meagre investment of Rs 15 crore from the state government. TASMAC was originally tasked with the responsibility of curtailing the sale of spurious liquor consumption of which had caused several deaths in the state. Subsequently the wholesale trade in liquor was transferred from private entities to TASMAC giving it a monopoly over wholesale trade in liquor. In 2003, the retail trade of liquor was also transferred to TASMAC.
The National Family Health Surveys indicate that close to half of the male population (47 per cent) in Tamil Nadu consume liquor.
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