On Bihar’s prohibition policy: A costly ban

Source– The post is based on the article “on Bihar’s prohibition policy: A costly ban” published in “Indian Express” on 2nd June 2023.

Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Social Issues

News: Bihar government amended the stern Bihar Prohibition and Excise (Amendment) Act, which banned liquor in Bihar.

The amendment is moved to relax the rules for release of vehicles impounded for transporting liquor.

Vehicle owners were abandoning their vehicles, captured for transporting liquor, rather than paying hefty fines to retrieve them. It resulted in over 50,000 four-wheelers being parked in 800 police stations across Bihar.

The recent amendment allows the release of impounded vehicles upon payment of 10% of their insurance cover, as opposed to the earlier requirement of 50%.

What are the other changes introduced to the Bihar Liquor Law?

Now first-time drinkers will not be imprisoned. They can pay fine of Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 and walk free.

The government has removed community fines, reduced the term of imprisonment for drinking from 10 years to five.

Ex gratia payment in hooch deaths was restored to Rs 4 lakh compensation to the next of kin of victims.

What are the reasons behind relaxation?

It shows that Bihar’s liquor policy has not been successful.

Bihar’s liquor ban has led to a spike in illicit trade, hooch deaths, and arrests.

The majority of those arrested and imprisoned are from marginalized groups, including Other Backward Castes, Extremely Backward Castes, and Dalits.

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