Thiruvananthapuram | After enjoying the dubious distinction of having the highest per captia liquor consumption in the country, Kerala has shown negative growth in liquor consumption and sale this year.
Excise Minister K Babu told the State Assembly that there was an 18 per cent decline in the sale of liquor in the state during the first three months of the current financial year.
He pointed out that in the year 2010-11, the sale of liquor in the state registered an increase of 17 per cent as compared to the previous year. However, the United Democratic Front Government had taken a series of steps to bring down liquor consumption in the state.
The growth rate could be reduced to eleven per cent during 2011-12 and one per cent during 2012-13. In the next year, the growth rate was minus one per cent. The year 2014-15 saw a negative growth of eight per cent. The first three months of the current financial year showed an encouraging negative growth of 18 per cent.
Kerala’s per capita liquor consumption was 8.3 liters as against the national average of four liters. The government has already closed down bars, except those in the five star hotels. It also decided to reduce the number of Beverages Corporation (Bevco) outlets which sell liquor in the retail sector.
The 334 outlets will be phased out by winding up ten per cent of the outlets every year. It is estimatated that if the state went ahead with the total prohibition, the state would incur a loss of Rs 8,000 crore due to the ban that is more than one-third of the state government’s annual plan outlay.