After the Modi government withdrew the farm laws, various other sections have also started to push the withdrawal of controversial governmental dictates. One such dictate is Nitish Kumar’s liquor ban in Bihar. BJP, a member of the JDU–BJP coalition government, is now adamant about removing the populist move of Nitish Kumar.
BJP MLA pushes for removal of the alcohol ban in the state
Haribhushan Thakur, a member of the legislative assembly from the legislative assembly (MLA) from Bisfi in Madhubani, Bihar has requested Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to remove the illogical liquor ban from the state. Pointing towards the withdrawal of farm laws by honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Thakur said that Nitish Kumar should take a leaf out of Modi’s book.
Haribhushan Thakur praised Nitish Kumar by saying that the liquor ban was well-intentioned. He then said that the government, however, immensely failed in executing the ban. He blamed the executive organ, i.e. bureaucracy of the state for failing the liquor ban by hobnobbing with illegal liquor mafias in the state. Haribhushan Thakur said that the manner in which raids were conducted at a marriage function in the capital Patna two days ago under the cover of law is shameful and scary.
The MLA said that a vast section of youths in the state is involved in the smuggling of illegal liquor. He also informed that Police and smugglers have come together and it’s only with the police’s permission that illegal liquor is being sold in the state. Explaining the mechanism, he told the media that Police do not raid the house of smugglers, while they are threatening those who are not engaged in smuggling.
Addressing the elephant in the room, i.e. taxes, Thakur advised the government to remove the ban and strive towards a better tax structure on the sale of liquor in the state. A better tax structure would help in the revenue maximization of the state government.
On 5 April 2016, Nitish Kumar, the newly re-appointed chief minister of Bihar had banned the buying and selling of liquor in the state. By doing this, he fulfilled his promise made to women of the state while campaigning for the Bihar Assembly elections, 2015.
Read more: Why liquor ban in Bihar is a bad idea?
Intentions behind the ban and its ill-effects
The ban is Talibanesque in its letter and spirit. The law is so strict that if you have your house in Bihar and someone throws alcohol in your house, and the police get a hold of it, you will be nabbed by the police for illegal possession of alcohol. In November 2021, the Nitish Kumar-led government tightened the norms for the law-enforcement agencies and said that if liquor is found in any area, the Station House Officer (SHO) of that particular area will be suspended.
While done with good intentions, the Alcohol ban has proved to be a disaster for the state. Male members of the family who used to spend Rs 100 for their liquor are now chalking out Rs 200 of their hard-earned money to buy illegal alcohol. This has led to reduced household spending, more threat of violence on dependent women and children of the family.
Alcohol and allied industries can exponentialise Bihar’s economic growth
The preparation of alcohol requires fresh fruits, barley, freshwater, sunlight, and cheap labour in the vicinity. Bihar has all of these in vast proportions. The alcohol manufacturing industry on its own has the capacity to provide jobs to millions of people and take them out of the clutches of crime-filled poverty-led life. Moreover, since, alcohol has a huge demand in the state as well as all across the country, the industries would give a massive boost to the exports emanating from the state.
The Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) started by PM Modi would also help in changing the on-ground scenarios in the state. As Bihar would sell cheap alcohol, tourists would flock in from all across the country to enjoy their free time in the state. This would have provided an impetus to the development of resorts, hotels, beaches, and all other hospitality segments in the state. Fundamentally, Bihar could have become the next Goa, while in turn, it has again drifted towards becoming one of those BIMARU states.
Modern-day Bihar is a classic case of how socialism can take a state into a troglodyte-era economy. The socialists are known for not letting anyone prosper in order to garner more political power. Nitish Kumar’s irrational insistence on continuing with the liquor ban in the state is just a shining example of that.