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Free pricing of IMFL beneficial: commissioner

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, APRIL 4. The Excise Commissioner, T. Balakrishnan, today claimed that the free pricing of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) for distribution through the Kerala State Beverages Corporation outlets would ensure market related prices, besides providing total transparency.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr. Balakrishnan, along with the KSBC managing director, Sanker Reddy, said that the Government had decided not to tinker with the excise duty slab as demanded by the liquor manufacturers. In market conditions where pricing of the product was more important than brand loyalty, liquor companies would not be in a position to arbitrarily increase the price even though they were free to fix it independently.

Mr. Balakrishnan said that the KSBC had been following the free pricing mechanism for the last three years. He said that the rate of increase in prices was 7 per cent over last year, while for the current year, it ranged between 0.41 per cent and 46 per cent depending on the brand. The KSBC officials did not provide the figures relating to price increase for the last three years to substantiate their claims. The two officials said that the Government and the KSBC's decision not to interfere in the pricing were in line with the 2002 Competition Act. The KSBC as the sole distributing agency ensures that the consumer gets the required quantity of liquor in a specific price bracket. By the exercise of free pricing, if any product were priced high, the consumer would decide to purchase the product available in his price range.

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