Fumes of failure – Prohibition is damaging Bihar in multiple ways

Source: The post is based on the article “Fumes of failure – Prohibition is damaging Bihar in multiple ways” published in the Business Standard on 19th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS – 2 – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Relevance: About prohibition movements in states.

News: The death of over 70 people in Bihar after consuming illicit liquor underlines the challenges associated with prohibition.

What are the challenges associated with prohibition?

a) There will be an emergence of an illicit liquor mafia that smuggles liquor across state and international borders.

b) Hooch-related deaths will increase as they deploy toxic chemicals to make hooch. This creates law and order problems in a state.

c) The revenue loss from prohibition is enormous. For example, 1) In a recent letter to Bihar CM, the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC) said the state lost about Rs 10,000 crore in revenues from prohibition annually. Given the development needs of a state like Bihar, additional revenue could have been useful, 2) Prohibition policy in Haryana in 1996 cost the state revenues and jobs. To compensate for the revenue forgone from liquor sales, the Haryana government raised tariffs on state-provided services — from bus fares to power and petrol.

Must read: Prohibition of Liquor: Benefits and Challenges – Explained, pointwise
Why there is an increase in prohibition movements in states throughout India?

1) To gain the support of women voters as they bear the brunt of men’s alcoholic inclinations as victims of domestic violence and wasted incomes.

2) In India social-drinking norms are near non-existent and daily life is tough enough to encourage alcoholic oblivion among working men.

What should be done instead of prohibition movements?

The government should move towards experimenting with alternative wage payment practices and gradually lifting prohibition in the states where it is implemented.

Manufacturing and mining units in states like Bihar can hand over the weekly wages of men to the womenfolk like in the UK.

Read more: The effectiveness of prohibition of Alcohol in India and some alternative policy measures
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