“Drink makes a man forget himself. He ceases to be a man, becomes less than a beast for the time being. It never does the slightest good. I hope, therefore, that you will combat the curse with all your strength”, was how Mahatma Gandhi had cautioned the country way back in 1925. Some 35 years later, in 1960, Gandhiji’s birth state, Gujarat, prohibited alcohol. Following Gujarat’s example, Nagaland, Manipur, Bihar, and Lakshadweep too prohibited alcohol later.
After going dry, these states took a hit in their revenue collection but the move found admirers in many, especially women. However, some argue that liquor is still available in the black market in these states. Since it is being sold illegally, the prices are inflated and there are regular raids to control such illegal sale. The available legal liquors in India are Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), Imported Foreign Liquor (IFL), and Country Liquor. It is a difficult task to stop consumption of alcohol completely; India is probably not trying to do so either. The need of the hour is strict administrative and legal mechanisms to combat the hazards of alcohol. According to the Administrative Report 2016-17 published by the Excise Directorate, Government of West Bengal, “The policy of the state governments of India is not to encourage indiscriminate growth in consumption of intoxicants but to socially regulate it in a manner such that even with respect to the existing pattern of consumption, drinking is conducted in a safe manner. That is the persons who are in the habit of consuming intoxicants turn away from the consumption of illicitly distilled and or non-duty paid intoxicants to socially regulated consumption of intoxicants from legitimate sources which ensure safety against health hazards and lead to a consequential growth in revenue as well.”
Regulations of the Excise Directorate
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