Blaming Nitish Kumar government’s liberal liquor policy for atrocities on women, Bihar health minister Ashwini Chaubey said the state should look for alternative means of revenue and push for “total prohibition”.
“I have no doubt the easy availability of alcohol is responsible for atrocities on women,” Chaubey said at a workshop on empowerment of women, organised by the women’s development corporation, on Saturday.
Liquor generates significant revenue – over six years, it saw an almost eight-fold rise in the state. But the government should find an alternate source of revenue so “complete prohibition” could be enforced in Bihar, Chaubey said.
From Rs. 329 crore in 2005-06 —when the Kumar-led NDA regime assumed office — the revenue from liquor sales grew to Rs. 2,715 crore in 2011-12.
The minister’s remarks came as an embarrassment for the state government — especially since Kumar had publicly acknowledged the government’s dependence on liquor revenue to bankroll its public welfare schemes.
Chaubey’s stand also coincides with that of opposition leaders Lalu Prasad (RJD) and Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP), who have blamed the government’s ‘open door’ liquor policy for many ills plaguing Bihar, including incidence of crime.
Social welfare minister Parveen Amanullah, who was chairing the workshop, refused to comment on Chaubey’s stand.