Govt warned of revenue loss, Expenditure Review Committee pitches for long-term liquor policy

Friday, Jul 10, 2015,22:38 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | Red flagging the UDF government’s goal of going for total liquor prohibition, the Kerala Public Expenditure Review Committee has recommended that a long-term liquor policy be worked out instead keeping in mind the revenue loss due to the prohibition.
Indian Made Foreign Liquor is the most important revenue raising commodity which records 18.63 per cent growth in the medium-term, the committee recently pointed out in its fourth report, 2013-14. Being the most important revenue raising source, a well-drawn out, long-term liquor policy is the urgent need of the hour, it said.
Such a policy may be evolved at the earliest after taking into account the fact that what Kerala loses by way of liquor revenue will be gained by its neighbouring states, the report said, adding that the total revenue earned by state from the sale of IMFL for the year 2013-14 stood at Rs 5,830.12 crore.
The committee also said it feels that the anti-liquor campaign and severe time-bound punishment to liquor and drug pushers in the vicinity of educational institutions would be more appropriate steps than the goal of liquor prohibition. The government should constitute ‘anti-drug students’ squads’ just like ‘student police’, on every campus to check the menace.
Asking the government to introduce a targeted approach for the disbursement of welfare payments, the committee said that the ‘Bosla Family Welfare’ programme functioning successfully in Brazil should be adopted in Kerala. In Brazil, the family welfare programme is conditional and welfare allowance is given only to the female head of the household, the report pointed out.
In return for benefits, the families commit to keeping their children in school and taking them for regular health check-ups. Such targeted approach would yield better dividends than the policy to ban liquor, the report added. The Congress-led UDF government announced its new liquor policy in August last year that envisages total prohibition in the state in the next 10 years.
All bars serving IMFL and its sales in hotels other than Five-Star ones were closed as per the new policy, which also seeks to annually shut down 10 per cent of the over 400 retail outlets of Kerala State Beverages Corporation, the sole agency for the supply of wholesale and retail IMFL in the state.