India’s third most populous state to ban alcohol
Source: The Spirits Business
by Amy Hopkins
27th November, 2015
Bihar, India’s third biggest state by population, is set to become the latest region to completely ban the sale and consumption of alcohol next year.
Bihar’s chief minister, Nitish Kumar, said that he intended to introduce prohibition legislation to curb excessive alcohol consumption that causes “suffering” to women.
As reported by The Telegraph, Kumar said: “Women in the state started an anti-liquor campaign. Increasing liquor consumption was a major cause for domestic violence, particularly against women, and had contributed to a rise in crimes.
“I have instructed my officials to start working towards this [ban] and implement this from the next financial year.”
Bihar has one of the largest populations in India, meaning up to 100 million people could be affected by the ban, which will be one of the world’s most far-reaching.
Kumar intends to start implementing the prohibition legislation from 1 April 2016.
Bihar previously attempted to enforce a blanket alcohol ban in the late 70s, but failed due to pervasive smuggling from other states. Kumar said that if illicit production and smuggling follow the latest prohibition attempt, the state will deal with the problem “strongly”.
A spokesperson for Bihar’s ruling party Janata Dal estimated the ban will cost £327m in lost tax revenues, the BBC reports.
The news has impacted share prices of Indian drinks firms, include the country’s largest producer, Diageo-controlled United Spirits Limited.
Last August, officials proposed to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol in Kerala – the biggest liquor-consuming state in India.
Prohibition already exists in the Indian states of Gujarat, Mizoram, and Nagaland, parts of Manipur, and the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.