The disastrous results of the liquor prohibition policy continued; Lessons need to be learned from other States | Popgen Tech


New Delhi/Kohima: The Bihar Liquor Prohibition Act came in 2016.
In 2022 after six years and more India will debate row hooch. No wonder. In 2016 itself within minutes of the announcement that the ban was implemented in governance-starved Bihar, microblogging sites Twitter and social networks Facebook were on fire.

One of the missives that went viral was – ‘News: Bihar announces massive investment in contract industry’.

Nagaland politicians say the new row in Bihar is not surprising at all. Hooch and bootlegging tragedies are generally the result of prohibition laws being imposed anywhere.

In 2016 again, reports claimed that at a meeting in Forbesganj in Bihar, Indian authorities sought help from their Nepali counterparts to stop the movement of alcohol seekers from Nepal.

In Mizoram Christians dominate; The prohibition law lasted 18 years. A Governor of Mizoram once said, “Mizoram is the driest state in the country. Not a comment to be proud of. Let’s not give in to hypocrisy”.

BJP MPs from Bihar on December 22 staged a protest at the Parliament complex demanding compensation for the families of those killed in the hooch tragedy in the State. Some BJP leaders have even called for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to resign.

Even as the Bihar Government confirmed 38 deaths in the Saran hooch tragedy, BJP leaders disputed the figures.

The saffron party leaders say that more than 100 people have died in Bihar.

Mizoram’s majority Christians imposed the ban under pressure from church bodies as was the case in Nagaland but lifted it in July 2014 after 18 years of struggle and failure.

In Nagaland, Congress leaders succumbed to emotional blackmail by the Nagaland Baptist Church Council and the Naga Mothers’ Association and enacted new Prohibition laws. But the move only hit the revenue of the cash-strapped Nagaland Government and encouraged contractors in neighboring Assam.

So, many say the Nitish Kumar Bihar Government should have been more pragmatic before announcing ban, as it cost Nagaland or Mizoram dearly in terms of revenue and only helped smugglers.

“I think the idea of ​​this ban is itself a madness. Prohibition has either failed like in Nagaland or Manipur,” says a former Minister of Nagaland adding, people have realized it well even in states like Maharashtra and hence the law has been amended. Sources said the Maharashtra law was amended as illegal cases and smuggling of alcohol in other districts was a matter of concern. A data also came to light that there was a loss of Rs 2571 crore in revenue in five years.

Even in Gujarat the prohibition law brought in 1949 was amended in 2014 when the state organized the 7th Vibrant Gujarat Summit. The changed law allowed hotel managers and liquor stores to issue permits.

In Bihar, the liquor ban resulted in a revenue loss of about 5000 rupees. Even in Bihar, the 2016 law was amended in 2018 only after two years. Again in 2022, the Nitish Kumar government brought another amendment and created a provision that those caught drinking for the first time in Bihar would be released with a maximum fine of 3000 rupees and would not be sent to jail.

In Manipur prohibition was brought in 1991 and for more reasons than one everyone seemed to believe in its limits.

There were reports of bootlegging and an increase in drug abuse.

In July 2014, the State Government informed the Manipur assembly that the State authorities favored exploring the option of lifting the ban. He also suggested that country liquor produced in Manipur by scheduled castes and tribes must be sold in other states “for revenue”.

Prohibition was in force in what is now Tamil Nadu from pre-Independence days and was lifted in 1971. It was again briefly imposed in 1974 before being lifted.

Prohibition was imposed in Haryana in July 1996 by the government led by then chief minister Bansi Lal. However, it remained in force only until March 31, 1998. One of the reasons is that neighboring Punjab has one of the highest per capita liquor consumption rates, so it was always readily available.

Rajasthan briefly flirted with prohibition in 1977-79.

Around 2015-16, revenue loss also plagued Kerala when the State Government decided to impose total prohibition by 2023.

“Alcohol helps in giving Kerala’s economy a good boost – shockingly, more than 40 percent of the revenue for its annual budget comes from drinks,” a posting on the BBC website said.

In all these states, experience shows that the demand for prohibition is mainly guided by populism.

Not surprisingly, then, in 2016, the late film star Rishi Kapoor said in the context of Bihar, “Any law that tries to stop people from doing something (by force or law) is bound to fail.”


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