oppn parties Bihar Goes Dry in Bold Nitish Move

News Snippets

  • Centre asks states to give shelter and food to migrant workers to stop them from taking to the streets
  • RBI cuts repo rate by 75 bps, the steepest in 10 years
  • Centre writes to states regarding laxity in monitoring people who had arrived from abroad between January and March
  • Kerala reports a spurt in new cases
  • With 124 fresh cases on Friday, the number of reported cases in India stand at 854
  • Five of a family, including a 9-month-old-baby test positive for Covid-19 in Nadia district in West Bengal on Friday
  • The Pakistani army is reportedly forcibly moving all Covid-19 patients to PoK and Gilgit
  • Untimely azaans in J&K mosques spark panic gathering
  • Stocks rise - Sensex up by 1400 points and Nifty goes above the 8600 mark
  • Rahul Gandhi says the economic package is "the first step in the right direction"
  • The government announces wide-ranging measures to help the poor overcome the economic hardship caused by Covid-19
  • G20 leaders to hold a virtual meeting today to explore ways of fighting Covid-19 in a coordinated manner
  • The Delhi government orders testing of all medical staff after the positive test on a Delhi mohalla clinic doctor
  • As a fallout of a Delhi mohalla clinic doctor testing positive for Covid-19, 900 people in the chain quarantined
  • China offers help to India in the fight against Covid-19 and says India will win the battle at an early date
Government announces Rs 1.72 lakh crore relief package /////// Sonia Gandhi and P Chidambaram laud the government for the lockdown and offer their full support
oppn parties
Bihar Goes Dry in Bold Nitish Move

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2016-04-05 18:52:58

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.