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Bihar turning to expensive clothes, honey, cheese after liquor ban, say studies

The studies pointed out that 19% of households acquired new assets from the money they earlier splurged on alcohol.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2018 12:32 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Patna
Bihar,liquor ban,Bihar liquor ban
The Asian Development Research Institute study noted that the consumption of honey registered a monumental increase by 380% and cheese by 200%, after liquor ban in Bihar. (File photo)

Prohibition is making people of Bihar spend on good clothes and food with sale of expensive sarees rising by 1,751 percent while consumption of honey by 380% and that of cheese by 200% in the first six months of the ban, according to latest studies on the measure.

The studies, conducted by reputed think tank Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) and government-funded knowledge institute Development Management Institute (DMI), also pointed out that 19% of households acquired new assets from the money they earlier splurged on alcohol.

Both studies were commissioned by the state to evaluate consequences of prohibition, which came into force in April, 2016 “mainly as a response to demands of rural women who suffered because of the widespread practice of drinking alcohol”.

The findings were appended to the economic survey report and tabled before the state assembly this year.

The ADRI study took stock of purchasing behaviour as recorded at retail outlets of COMFED (Bihar State Milk Co-operative Federation), better known by the brand name “Sudha”.

It noted that the consumption of honey registered a monumental increase by 380% and cheese by 200%.

An impressive rise in sale was also recorded for items like butter milk - 40% - flavoured milk -28.4%- and lassi -19.7%- the report said.

The ADRI study collected data on purchase of a few other consumer items as well, based on sales tax revenues. The increase was substantial - the sale of expensive sarees rose by 1,751%, expensive dress materials by 910%, processed food by 46%, furniture by 20% and sports goods by 18%.

The other study done by DMI also underscored the “substantial economic impact” of the ban on alcohol.

The DMI study, based on primary data collected from 2,368 households in five districts of Nawada, Purnea, Samastipur, West Champaran and Kaimur, noted that families reported a weekly expenditure of Rs 1331 on food after prohibition, compared with Rs 1005 before the ban, implying an increase of 32%”.

“After prohibition, 19% of households acquired new assets and another five percent spent money on renovating their house”, the study said.

It also observed that 58% women feel they were given more respect and played a better role in making household decisions.

Going further, 22% of women said their opinion was now counted not just for household matters, but for village issues as well, the study added.

On the crime front, the ADRI report noted there was a 66.6% dip in cases of kidnapping for ransom, followed by 28.3% dip in murder cases and 2.3% in dacoity.

Taking into account the consumption figures of 2011, there were at least 44 lakh alcoholics in Bihar when the prohibition was enforced in April 2016.

Even by conservative estimates, each of these boozers has been spending at least Rs 1,000 per month on alcohol, the ADRI study said.

On this basis, at least Rs 440 crore every month was saved every month, which translates to Rs 5,280 crore every year, it added.

First Published: Jun 17, 2018 12:30 IST