oppn parties Bihar Goes Dry in Bold Nitish Move

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  • Karnataka crisis: BJP wants floor test today
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  • England wins the World Cup in an epic final that went down to the wire. The match was tied and the Super over was tied too, but England won as they hit more boundaries
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  • SBI not to charge any amount for digital money transfers through RTGS, NEFT and IMPS
  • Pakistan says Indian planes can only fly over its airspace if India pulls back its fighter jets from advanced bases
  • Congress-JD(S) alliance to seek floor test at the earliest
  • Supreme Court orders status quo in Karnataka case till Tuesday
  • UP BJP legislator Rajesh [email protected]@@s daughter alleges he sent goons after her for marrying outside the caste
  • CBI raids activists Indira jaising and Anand Grover for alleged violation of FCRA in their NGO
ISRO calls-off Chandrayaan-2 mission launch at last moment due to technical snags. revised date will be announced later
oppn parties
Bihar Goes Dry in Bold Nitish Move

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar has taken a bold step by adopting total prohibition in the state just four days after the production and sale of country made liquor was banned. It is a logical step forward for two reasons: one, the loss of revenue in country made liquor was over Rs 4000 cr while in banning IMFL or imported liquor it is just Rs 2000 cr so it makes sense to go for total ban as the poor would have accused it of pandering to the rich and two, some country liquor addicts would have converted to costlier IMFL entailing more hardships for the family, the very thing this ban seeks to prevent.

There are several concerns that the Bihar government must address. First and foremost, it must take immediate steps for effective policing so that bootlegging mafias, endangering the lives of people with their adulterated products, do not spring up. Then it needs to ensure that IMFL is not smuggled into the state from neighbouring Indian states and even Nepal, with which it shares a huge and porous border. Finally, it needs to generate additional streams of revenue to compensate for the loss in excise collected through liquor so that developmental projects are not stalled. After having foregone nearly Rs 6000 cr of annual revenue on this score, it will be hard pressed to fund its share of several projects and might even get into periodic fights with the NDA government at the Centre.

One is sure that if the government feels that the social benefits of banning liquor more than offsets the revenue loss, it has done so after a lot of brainstorming and soul searching. The next step should be a ban on tobacco products for they are equally, if not more, harmful for the health of the people. But since Biharis love their khaini and it is relatively cheap, one thinks Nitish will not have the courage to do so. In banning liquor, Nitish has fulfilled a promise he made before the elections and it will earn him unstinted goodwill of at least the women voters.