March 24, 2023

Reason to drink on dry days

Tomorrow is a dry day in Delhi, as usual. But afterwards a welcome change shall follow. As part of its new excise policy the Delhi government has notified that the number of dry days here will be reduced from 21 to three – Republic Day, Independence Day, Gandhi Jayanti. Despite the caveat that the government may declare other dry days from time to time, such as election and counting days, this is a step in the right direction.

Over in Bihar similarly some reform of its excise policy is being considered, as draconian prohibition has filled its jails far in excess of capacity even while deaths from the consumption of illicit liquor are reported all too frequently. This too, the reducing of harsh penalties and exacting procedures in Bihar, would be a step in the right direction. Gujarat likewise sees regular seizures of alcohol despite prohibition, but also keeps carving out exceptions for various business and tourist vectors. Why though should the local population be denied the same rights and delights?

Also read: Only 3 dry days in Delhi: Republic Day, Independence Day & October 2

Of course all such relaxations are driven by states’ desire to shore up their tax collections. But they are painfully hesitant and slow. For example the home delivery of alcohol that the Delhi government had announced last summer is yet to get underway. Pick up the pace please.



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