With Bihar’s ban, a sixth of India is now ‘dry’

Costs and benefits of prohibition need to be weighed before rushing in

rahul

Rahul Dass | April 6, 2016


#Liquor Ban   #Nitish Kumar   #Bihar   #Alcohol  


Bihar has prohibited alcohol, becoming the fourth state in the country to do so. Slowly yet surely, it seems, India is headed towards going ‘dry’. It is a bold move.

One swallow does not a summer make, yet there is a clear trend for barring liquor. With Bihar, one of India’s most populous states, joining this bandwagon, a staggering 20 crore people now will not have access to alcohol. This means that a sixth of India’s 1.2 billion people will be impacted, which is more than the population of small countries.

While Gujarat has successfully shown the way right since its inception in 1960, other states have toyed with the idea of banning alcohol over the years. Some have succeeded, while others have been forced to do a rethink.

Today, besides Gujarat, Nagaland, Manipur (in some parts), and the union territory of Lakshadweep have banned liquor while Kerala has since August 2014 been implementing the ban in a phased manner.

Bihar banned some varieties of liquor on April 1 and on Tuesday chief minister Nitish Kumar’s cabinet extended the ban to Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) with immediate effect. No licence would be granted for sale and consumption of alcohol in places like hotels, club and bars in towns and cities across Bihar. However, army cantonment areas would be out of it.

On the face of it, banning alcohol looks like a political move that has been wrapped in a social garb. Nitish had an electoral promise to keep and the opposition had been hounding him. What better way to win brownie points from women – a huge vote bank – than by banning liquor?

Women activists are right to seek a ban on liquor as they point out liquor destroys families. But they perhaps don’t realise that this may lead to a dangerous trend of moonshine gaining traction. Hooch has repeatedly claimed lives across the country.

What is perhaps needed is a mechanism to regulate the sale of alcohol and more awareness against liquor consumption. Here Alcoholics Anonymous has been doing a yeoman’s service.

Banning alcohol also makes a huge dent in the state exchequer which can be a big problem especially when the coffers are running dry.

Also, one needs to keep in mind that a complete ban on anything is perhaps not the best solution. Enterprising Indians have always found a way to beat the ban.

Suffice it to say that Bihar may well prompt more states to copy it. Before we sign the death warrant for alcohol, we must not forget that other countries are doing just fine where liquor is not banned. India needs to sit back and think before taking any hasty decision.

Comments

 

Other News

Non-vaccinated staff allowed mandatory rapid antigen tests

Maharashtra has modified guidelines on restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19, and put out clarifications on do Do’s and Don’ts to be followed under its ‘Break the Chain’ orders.   Starting Saturday, Rapid Antigen Tests are allowed for non-vaccinated

Probe agencies` credibility in doubt: Prithviraj Chavan

Raising concerns about the “leaks” of aspects of an ongoing investigation into incidents leading to political turmoil in Maharashtra, former chief minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan has said the NIA is selectively leaking info on the case and it is a serious matter. &n

On vaccine shortage, Maharashtra hits back at centre

Maharashtra, suffering from a heavy number of fresh cases every day and complaining of vaccine shortage, has replied to the union health minister criticism and blamed the centre for the situation. “Union Health Minister Shri Harsh Vardhan ji needs to be reminded that Maharashtra tops t

Mumbai allows 24x7 delivery of essential services

Amid tighter movement restrictions as the city and the state continue to battle a consistently rising trajectory of fresh Covid-19 cases, Mumbai civic authorities on Thursday allowed 24-hour home deliveries of food and essential supplies through online service providers like Zomato and Swiggy on all days o

Maharashtra, centre trade charges as India reports highest ever cases

India recorded a new high of 1,15,736 daily Covid-19 cases with Maharashtra bearing nearly half of the load, as the state and the centre traded charges for the first time since the outbreak. State leaders sought to put part of the blame on the centre while union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan slammed the

Deshmukh likely to challenge high court order in SC

Anil Deshmukh is reportedly considering approaching the supreme court Tuesday to challenge a Bombay high court order that had forced him to quit as home minister of Maharashtra a day earlier. Deshmukh tendered his resignation to governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, citing moral grounds, after the

Visionary talk with Prithviraj Chavan, On the need for vaccination & Maha Political volcano



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter