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Prohibition won’t work

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16.03.2019

The Nitish Kumar government, in its bid at social reformation, has gone to the absolute limit of denial. The American era proves it was a social and economic disaster

The introduction of prohibition by the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar has caused tension from the beginning. It is not surprising since the experiment has been initiated in a state that incidentally borders Nepal, which is an independent country. From the viewpoint of law and order, prohibition is a difficult measure to enforce as the Bihar-Nepal border is porous. Nevertheless, for womenfolk in rural India, a teetotaller husband is a most welcome introduction as it enables family life to be more peaceful as well as comparatively prosperous. For the middle and poorer classes, money spent by the husband on liquor burns a big hole in the family budget. So the Nitish Kumar government, in its bid at social reformation, has gone to the absolute limit of denial by not even allowing liquor permits for the old and the medically weak. This is unlike prohibition in other states, which allow a monthly quota for spirits certified by a government doctor. This means that those people who cannot survive without some alcohol must quit Bihar. What effect such a strict prohibition would have is yet to be seen.

It is noteworthy that prohibition has failed to endure in India, be it in Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra, except parts of Gujarat. There are reports no doubt that illegal drinking does take place. So the state exchequer misses out on the revenue except on what is sold on the permits. On the extra-legal quantities, there are reports of backdoor incomes being earned by those in charge of implementation of the measure. In Gujarat, apart from the permit holders, the consumers have two other points of relief. The Union Territories of Diu and........

© The Pioneer