Prohibition law vis-a-vis Manipur
Prof (Dr) Nimai Chand Luwang
Contd from last Saturday
According to the WHO, the harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 diseases and injury conditions and globally 3 million deaths occur annually due to harmful use of alcohol (5.3% of all deaths).
Curb gender-based violence: Alcohol consumption used to be one of the most common cause of gender-based violence, including domestic violence.
Reduction in crime: Intoxication impairs an individual’s ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Hence, reduction in alcohol consumption is desired to reduce crime in society
Economic stress: Addiction to alcohol creates severe economic hardships, especially among poor families as the male members tend to spend more and more on alcohol due to addiction. This in turn reduces the budget for spending on essential items and in many cases pushes the family into borrowings.
Arguments against prohibition
Loss of revenue: Tax revenues from alcohol is a major part of any Government’s revenue resources. These enable the Government to finance several public welfare schemes.
Absence of these revenues may severely impact the State’s ability to run public welfare programmes. The Indian Made Foreign Liquors (IMFL) industry also provides direct and indirect employment.
Bootlegging: Failure in effective implementation gives rise to bootlegging – illegal production, transportation, and sale of liquor. Liquor mafias emerge which keeps on supplying illicit liquor, with no quality checks to the masses. This is a normal phenomenon defeating the purpose of the prohibition of liquor and gives rise to organized crime as well.
Health impacts: Many people lose their lives after consuming poor quality illicit liquor. Alcohol prohibition may also lead people into consuming other substances which are easy to smuggle and may result in greater health and social consequences.
A populist measure: Critics argue that alcohol prohibition is merely used as a political card, especially to woo women voters. It may not solve their problems as people addicted to alcohol end up consuming other alternative intoxicants and illegal substances whose impact is similar or even worse than legally manufactured alcohol.
Why liquor prohibition is not effective
Past experiences : Historical experience has shown that liquor bans are ineffective and even counterproductive, and only give rise to crime and deaths by consumers drinking illicit liquor. Bans seldom work, they just push the alcohol consumption underground which then brings the criminal element into the picture.
Corruption: One important cause for failure of prohibition is corruption at all levels. Local officials form a nexus with liquor mafia and overlook the underground activities. The modus operandi of unlawful players keep on changing from time to time making it difficult to detect.
Support of neighbouring regions: Liquor is smuggled from neighbouring States and regions.
Easy money and workforce: Unemployed youths get the opportunity of earning quick and easy money by smuggling illicit liquor.
High addiction: Banning alcohol does not reduce its demand but rather intensifies it. People risk their lives and drink illicit liquor to satisfy their addiction. Demand for alcohol is inelastic, whatever the price, there is always a crowd at every alcohol shop.
(To be contd)