VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh government will soon facilitate digital payments at retail liquor outlets in the state. The facility is aimed at addressing anomalies observed when accepting hard cash at liquor outlets being run by the state-owned AP State Beverages Corporation Limited (APSBCL).
APSBCL had taken over sale of liquor from October 1, 2019; thereby eliminating private parties that had till then been supplying liquor to people in the state.
To start with digital payment facility will be available at 1,000 retail liquor outlets located mainly in urban areas, including district and mandal headquarters. State Bank of India (SBI) has been entrusted with the task of accepting digital payments. SBI is working out modalities for remitting to APSBCL the amount paid digitally by customers. The corporation, in turn, will pay this amount to liquor manufacturers / suppliers periodically to get fresh stocks of liquor.
So far, APSBCL has been collecting hard cash from liquor buyers and depositing the same into SBI. The bank sends this money the next working day to government treasury through the comprehensive financial management system. In due course of time, the amount gets remitted to APSBCL which, in turn, makes the payment to liquor suppliers / manufacturers. Liquor companies have thus been receiving their payments, but for ₹440 crore dues left during 2019–2020 by the previous Telugu Desam regime.
Andhra Pradesh daily gets about ₹60 crore from liquor trade. Authorities are expecting that to start with about 1–2 percent of this amount will come by way of digital payments. This is because consumers like daily wage labourers and economically weaker sections may not opt for digital payment for want of a bank account with cash reserves. They may also not have a smart phone with internet connection to scan UPI’s QR code.
APSBCL authorities say digital payments will help them track sale of liquor in terms of brand, volume, price, liquor outlet, customer identity and other details. This will enable them to analyse data and find out the preferred brands of liquor, frequency of purchases, consumption pattern and so on.
APSBCL managing director D. Vasu Deva Reddy said, “We are going to start digital payment facility at 1,000 liquor outlets in the state shortly and cover the remaining 2,000 targeted outlets in a phased manner. We expect this will ensure more transparency in liquor trade by addressing anomalies found earlier. We are getting all sale proceeds from liquor on a daily basis and are paying suppliers promptly,” the MD stated.