MP district ends 10% discount on liquor to encourage vaccination. Here is why
BHOPAL: Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh has withdrawn a 10% discount on liquor for people who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, officials said on Wednesday, linking the decision to scrap the discount within 24 hours of its introduction to opposition from a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker.
Mandsaur excise officer Anil Sachan said the offer, designed to motivate people to get themselves vaccinated, was withdrawn after objections.
BJP legislator Yashpal Sisodiya was among those who frowned at the initiative. “This decision is completely wrong as it will increase the consumption of liquor,” Sisodiya said.
The legislator said people could end up buying liquor in large quantities to avail cheaper price and get teetotalers to also buy liquor for them. On Twitter, some people recalled that the legislator’s opposition to encouraging liquor was understandable and natural, particularly given how he would often speak about his decision not to distribute liquor in the run up to 2018 state elections.
To be sure, the discount was available on country-made liquor purchased from three designated shops in the district. A circular issued on Tuesday also designated three excise department officers, one for each vend, who could be contacted for any problems in availing the discounts.
In Mandsaur, only 45% of people have received the second vaccine dose, 5 percentage points lower than the state’s average.
Mandsaur was the only district in Madhya Pradesh to use a discount on liquor to nudge people to get their dose.
In south MP’s Khandwa district 350km from Mandsaur, the district administration prohibited liquor vends to sell liquor to people who haven’t been vaccinated.
The state’s food and civil supplies department has also ordered that only vaccinated people will get ration under the Food Security Act after December 31.