New Delhi: Restaurant aggregator and food delivery website and app Zomato is aiming to start delivering alcohol to people’s homes, according to a Reuters news report. The international wire service claimed to have accessed a document where Zomato’s CEO Mohit Gupta wrote to industry body International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI) suggesting the idea in a business proposal.
Gupta wrote, “We believe that a technology-enabled home delivery based solution can promote responsible consumption of alcohol.”
Quoting the unpublished document submitted in mid-April, the Reuters report said Zomato would target “areas that are relatively less affected by COVID-19”.
As part of relaxations to the Covid-19 lockdown, the Ministry of Home Affairs allowed the reopening of liquor shops and sale of alcohol. However, due to the large crowds which gathered outside the shops across the country, with people flouting social distancing norms in places like Mumbai, many cities shut the liquor shops again. Delhi has imposed a 70 per cent ‘special corona fee for alcohol of on top of retail alcohol prices.
As reported by ThePrint earlier, people had gathered early in the morning starting 5.30 am to buy alcohol in the national capital Tuesday.
Revenue through alcohol
Since the sale of alcohol was allowed starting 4 May, many states earned a considerable amount of money from liquor sales.
Assam reportedly earned Rs 50 crore revenue until Tuesday while Andhra Pradesh registered a revenue of Rs 40 crore on the first day of reopening of liquor shops. Karnataka earned Rs 45 crore from alcohol sales Monday and Rs 197 crore Tuesday. Alcohol sales account for close to 14.1 per cent of Delhi government’s entire revenue projections for 2020-21.
At present, there are no legal provisions to allow home delivery of alcohol in India, which the ISWAI is lobbying to change. Amrit Kiran Singh, executive chairman of the industry body, said states should allow alcohol deliveries in order to boost revenues hit by the Covid-19 lockdown.
He told Reuters, “The challenge is to ensure revenue from alcohol continues to be available. It is imperative they (states) reduce the load on the retail counter… by encouraging home delivery.”
In Punjab, the state government has decided to allow home delivery of liquor, daily, for a limited number of hours.
Since the coronavirus lockdown, aside from delivering food to people’s homes, Zomato has also started delivering grocery items.