Dairy cows stand in a milking shed at a farm (Photographer: Brendon O’Hagan/Bloomberg)

Rajasthan Government’s Liquor Surcharge To Generate Funds For Cow Protection

The Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan has introduced a 20 percent surcharge on liquor, the proceeds of which will be used for protection of cows in the state, an official said yesterday.

“The state government hereby notifies that surcharge at the rate of 20 per cent shall be levied and collected on the amount of tax or any sum in lieu of tax payable on the sale of foreign liquor, Indian made foreign liquor, country liquor and beer sold by dealers registered under the provisions of the Rajasthan Value Added Tax Act 2003 with effect from July 23, 2018,” an official order read.

The surcharge imposed on liquor is meant for cow protection, Additional Chief Secretary (Finance and Taxation) Mukesh Kumar Sharma said.

The state government had in April last year imposed a 10 percent surcharge on all non-judicial instruments for the protection of cows thus making rent agreements, mortgage papers and lease agreement costlier.  Official sources said the state government was also considering increasing the surcharge on non-judicial instruments to 20 per cent from existing 10 per cent for cow protection and propagation in addition to the liquor surcharge.

In the drought affected areas of the state, there are 1,682 cow-shelters with 5.86 lakh cows. There are a total 2,562 cow-shelters having a population of nearly 8.58 lakh cows in Rajasthan.

Officials said in the past two financial years, the Rajasthan government has earned approximately Rs 895 crore from the 10 percent surcharge levied on stamp duty for conservation and propagation of cows and their progeny.

Under the proposals for cow conservation and propagation fund rules-2016, the state government provided Rs 132.68 crore in the financial year 2016-17. The funds were provided for fodder and water to 1,160 cow shelters.

In 2017-2018, the state government spent Rs 123.07 crore on 1,603 cow shelters. In the year 2015-16, before the surcharge was imposed, the state government spent Rs 1.80 crore for nurturing 4,449 bovines rescued from smuggling and slaughtering, they said.