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

This is no e-NAM

The National Agricultural Market or e-NAM scheme was launched in April 2016 with the aim of eliminating middlemen, who make wild profits while farmers make a pittance. By trading on the online platform, farmers would be able to sell their produce across locations, seeking out the best payers. But two years

The Kumbh: The grandest spectacle on earth

It is an incredible sight. As our small boat moves towards the Sangam (the confluence of the river Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati at Prayagraj) much before the break of the dawn, a sea of humanity surges forward to take a holy dip in icy waters in an extremely cold weather by north India’s stan

A stitch in time

After giving birth to two children, Sheila (name changed), a 32-year-old resident of Shahapur in Thane, Maharashtra, decided to get herself sterilised. In 2013, some workers of a primary health centre (PHC) told her about a sterilisation camp 30 km away in Saralgaon, in her mother’s village. She did

The state of Indian education

In India, 50 percent of all boys in the age group 14 to 16 can correctly solve a division problem as compared to 44 percent of all girls, reveals the 13th ASER (Annual Status of Education Report) (Rural) 2018. The nation-wide household survey provides a snapshot of children’s schooling and learning f

The Triptych and us

Some of the developments in India during the past four years, such as lynchings, growing polarisation among communities on caste and religious lines in every walk of life and the consequent fear psychosis that it has entailed have damaged the social fabric of Indian society. There also appears to be strang

What ails the Indian women?

Abha Singh, who is practicing in the high court of judicature at Mumbai, launched the Urdu edition of her book titled ‘Aurat Halat aur Hal’ in Mumbai on January 10. The Hindi edition of the book ‘Stree – Disha aur Dasha’ focuses on women empowerment as well as judicial laws an

6th PSU Awards

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter