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Prohibition is no solution to alcohol abuse, says SBP President

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Press release published by SBP today, 1 February 2016

Committed to liberty, Swarna Bharat Party (SBP) denounces prohibition or excessive restrictions on the sale of alcohol by some States. Some of these States treat rich Indians or foreigners differently, with alcohol allowed to be served in five star hotels. Such arbitrary policies imply that some Indian citizens are less responsible than others, that such Indians are fit to vote but unfit to make responsible decisions on the question of alcohol. This two-tier approach harks back to India’s colonial era. It also begs the question why alcohol is allowed to be manufactured in India in the first place.

In a press note issued by the SBP President, Mr. Vishal Singh noted that “Prohibition has been a disaster wherever it has been attempted. The evidence is overwhelming – from across India and the world – that prohibition is never realised in practice. Instead, illicit liquor and crime receives a fillip, including smuggling from nearby non-prohibition States. This causes governments to lose essential tax revenues, even as taxpayers pay more to deal with the consequences of increased crime and corruption.”

Moreover, Mr. Singh pointed out that such restrictions are a direct attack on the promise of liberty assured by the Preamble to India’s Constitution. No doubt, the Directive principles enjoin the State to impose prohibition on the ground that “intoxicating drinks … are injurious to health”. However, SBP believes that the merits and demerits of alcohol need to be constantly reviewed in the light of new scientific evidence. A Constitution is not the place to make public policy.

Even if alcohol were proven to be injurious to health, a government would not necessarily have a role. A government’s role must be limited to addressing any harm that people cause others, for example, driving when intoxicated or domestic violence, not harm they may choose to cause themselves.

Chanakya’s Arthashastra details how alcohol can be regulated. But India’s own history and that of other free countries can also provide useful insights. One way is to tax liquor, keeping in mind that if desi liquor is taxed heavily, the poor may switch to illicit, often toxic, liquor. Breath tests of drivers should be regularly undertaken, with revenues generated from fines defraying the cost of these tests. Those who harm others should be made to pay; not those who use alcohol responsibly.

Mr. Singh noted that excessive consumption of alcohol by someone in the privacy of their home can sometimes become a social issue. Social organizations should provide scientific information to the community on the harms of excessive drinking. SBP will also disseminate such information through its social outreach efforts.

Mr. Singh re-iterated that “A government’s job is to defend the liberty of every citizen, while addressing the harm caused by any irresponsible exercise of liberty. SBP’s manifesto outlines mature and well thought-out regulatory approaches on all aspects of public policy. The recent alcohol ban in Kerala, the proposed ban in Bihar, and existing bans or significant restrictions in Gujarat, Mahrashtra and other parts of India should be immediately reviewed.”



Sanjay Sonawani (Pune), Spokesperson, +91 9860991205

Vishal Singh (Bengaluru), President, President, +91 9920613669

Madhusudhan Kolachina (Hyderabad), Joint Secretary, +91 9885496473

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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4 thoughts on “Prohibition is no solution to alcohol abuse, says SBP President
  1. Iniyavel


    I absolutely agree with this statement. Prohibition by banning or punishing will not help us in the long run. Pretty much like what Anna Hazare did/does in his hometown. It doesn’t help remove alcoholism, but it will help it flourish underneath the surface, just like corruption does. No system reforms, no results.

    Of course, privateers/scientists can take this task of warning against the dangers to health of consuming alcohol beyond certain limits, but banning is not the answer.

    OTOH, we can regulate what kind of alcohol is manufactured. Preventing potentially poisonous illicit alcohol. But apart from that, banning is not the answer and it has backfired in Tamil Nadu for instance.

    Punishment should only be for crimes due to using alcohol like drunken driving, assaulting, domestic violence, etc.

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks. Please join SBP to spread the message of liberty and good governance. All other parties are taking India down the drain.

  3. Iniyavel


    But the issue at present is, I’m not even 23, so maybe after my career stabilizes I’ll make up my mind to join either sbp or fti as both are pretty good.



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