Booze policy must beat its licence raj hangover

Source: The post is based on the article “Booze policy must beat its licence raj hangover” published in Mint on 3rd March 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Governance

Relevance: Concerns associated with liquor policy

News: Delhi Minister has been recently arrested over liquor policy. The article discusses the different types of liquor policies adopted by most state governments which help politicians to earn through it.

What are the different policies adopted by the government for alcohol?

Alcohol License: Alcohol permits are given to few private shops by the state. Through this limited permit/license, government keeps a check on alcohol supply and controls the demand.

However, license regime gives an advantage to politicians to receive bribe from private players.

Tight-liquor Policy: Another way to check the alcohol demand by the government is a tight liquor policy. It helps in keeping the price of the alcohol high which in turn reduces the demand.

This high price helps in earning more profits and helps the tax authorities to get revenues. This extra profit is again shared by the politicians.

Therefore, there is a need to change the policy on alcohol and reduce the state discretion.

What can be the course of action?

Alcohol needs to be under GST and liquor policies should be made in such a way it focuses more on social safety rather than price and profits.

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