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The Assam cabinet on May 8 decided to increase liquor price by 25 per cent, while also ordering various labour reforms and allowing tea industry to operate with full strength during the lockdown period also.

In Arunachal Pradesh, the state government announced to impose a cess of 25 per cent on all alcoholic beverages to generate revenue of Rs 70 crore. “To augment state’s own resources and to generate much needed revenue to combat COVID-19, the state cabinet decided to levy a ‘Cess’ of 25 per cent on MRP of all alcoholic beverages,” Chief Minister Pema Khandu said.

Meghalaya too hiked 25 per cent on the maximum retail price on liquor. Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said the hike was in order to generate additional excise revenue to meet the unexpected financial burden and expenditures arising out of the COVID-19 situation in the state. He anticipated that the increase of price of liquor will generate additional revenue to the tune of Rs 120-130 crore approximately.

Assam Cabinet Decisions

On May 8, a meeting of the council of ministers in Assam, chaired by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, was held through video conference to ensure adequate physical distancing in the midst of COVID-19 outbreak.

The cabinet decided to increase excise duty on IMFL liquor by 25 per cent on MRP, which will lead to additional revenue of Rs 100 crore to the state government.

The cabinet also decided on a slew of labour reforms, including introduction of fixed term employment, increase in minimum number of workers for implementation of Factories Act from 10 to 20 (with power) and from 20 to 40 (without power), and increase in minimum number of workers for implementation of Contract Labour Act from 20 to 50.

Increase in shift hours from 8 to 12 hours during COVID-19 period was also decided as per labour reforms.

Further, operations in tea industry will be allowed with full strength while maintaining physical distancing norms.

The cabinet passed the Assam Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance 2020, while the Assam Agricultural Produce Marketing Act 1972 was repealed.

It also decided to release fund for payment of salary of Assam Agricultural Marketing Board, if required.

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