Patna, November 22nd, 2018:As the Bihar Government completes 3 years of announcing state-wide alcohol ban imposed from April 2016, Jan Ki Baat, a public opinion platformtoday released the results of a survey finding that 65.71% of the respondents feel that the state government and law enforcement authorities have failed at implementation of alcohol prohibition and 12.44% of the respondents are completely against prohibition.
This survey with a sample size of 3,500 was conducted across 7 districts of Bihar i.e. Samastipur, Muzzaffarpur, Vaishali, Madhubani, Begusarai, Patna and Darbhanga, with the objective of assessing public’s opinion on the existing prohibition law and their view ofits intended impact on the lives of the people.
The other interesting findings from the survey include:
- One-third of the respondents feel that the populist prohibition law will negatively impact the Nitish Kumar Government in the next elections.
- 72% of the respondents stated that they were unhappy with the Nitish Kumar government
Even in cases where people believed that liquor ban was a positive move, they clearly expressed their unhappiness over the severe loopholes in the implementation of the ban that has rendered the entire move ineffective.
One message that reverberated throughout the on-ground interviews of locals in the region was that enforcement of liquor prohibition has not been effective. The survey strongly reiterates that post the imposition of alcohol ban in Bihar, the socio-economic condition of people from poor and marginalised backgrounds is deteriorating. Smuggled liquor still flows freely in the state, and instances of corruption and bribery have increased.
Prohibition has also resulted in loss of many legitimate jobs, and in order to keep their families from sinking deeper into debt, women and youth are now being increasingly pulled into sale of illicit liquor. To complete the circle of moral and social breakdown, the younger generation is swapping the bottle for cheap drugs, increasing manifold the addiction problem that liquor ban had intended to fight.
Speaking on the findings of the survey, Pradip Bhandari – Founder & CEO of Jan Ki Baat said, “Liquor ban policy in Bihar has inflated the price of liquor and catalysed the black economy of liquor particularly involving minors in the illicit trade. This may backfire politically in medium term. Instead, policy step towards regulation may be a better political alternative.”
While the debate can be endless on the success or failure of the prohibition law in Bihar, it is imperative to pause and relook at the effectiveness and long-term social cost of this restrictive policy. Apart from the economic consequences, the law is ultimately causing more harm to the very people it seeks to protect.