In a one of its kind move, the Devendra Fadnavis led BJP government in Maharashtra is all set to allow the online sale and home delivery of liquor in the state. The state cabinet is of the opinion that allowing online sale and home delivery of liquor is likely to curb the cases of drunk driving on the roads. This move when implemented will be one of its kind in the country and will be a novel approach towards solving the problem of alcohol related accidents which take place on roads. Allowing the home delivery of liquor by a BJP government is indeed a progressive step taken by CM Fadnavis in Maharashtra, it is great that the BJP government in state has not thought of liquor as a taboo, as many would have liked to believe. This is keeping in line with the policy of not interfering too much with the general public behavior, or minimum governance.
Although the date for the decision coming into effect is still not clear, the Excise Minister of Maharashtra, Chandrashekhar Bawankule said, “We want to curb the instances of drunken driving. Allowing home delivery of liquor will help in this.” While some senior officials of the Excise department in Maharashtra have appreciated the decision to allow online sale and home delivery of liquor, some others have tried to point out that the decision has been taken to increase the revenue of the Excise department. The Excise revenue to the government had fallen severely following the Supreme Court ban on operating liquor stores and bars near highways. Approximately 3,000 outlets in Maharashtra alone had to be closed down owing to the SC ban, which led to losses for the state government and excise department in particular. Allowing online sale and home delivery is likely to bridge this gap making it a win-situation for all parties concerned in Maharashtra.
The approach taken by Maharashtra CM is also commendable considering that some other CMs have taken a rather dubious stance when it comes to alcohol. Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal, had promised giving a ‘holy city’ status to Amritsar in 2016, which would lead to a ban on alcohol around the Golden temple area had his party come to power in the assembly elections in Punjab. U-turn expert Arvind Kejriwal had however not closed a single bar or liquor outlet in Delhi where his party is in power for long, these double standards of prominent leaders is what hurts India the most. The decision taken by the Maharashtra government, therefore, is a commendable one and the message is as straight as it can get, the state government does not want to promote the sale and consumption of liquor but will also not interfere in the lives of the people of the state. The decision taken to allow home delivery is likely to reduce instances of drinking and driving and will therefore improve safety on the roads.