Video Editor: Vivek Gupta
As liquor shops opened across the country, women's rights activists warned that it would further lead to a spike in incidents of domestic violence across the country. The National Commission for Women has said that there has been an increase in the number of domestic violence incidents being reported, after the lockdown was imposed earlier in March.
Different state governments reopened alcohol stores earlier in May, leading to people, mostly men, thronging the shops.
In the words of Swaraj India leader and social activist Yogendra Yadav, states' dependence on liquor is a "double-edged sword." He added that while people may think it is a moral issue, sale of alcohol is actually a women's issue and an economic issue.
"It is a women's issue. It is about children getting neglected and wives being beaten up, families being completelly ignored. Devastation is taking place," said Yadav, speaking to The Quint.
Narrating how he first realised the extent of alcohol problem in the country, while on a padyatra in Haryana's Rewari, Yadav said:
“We were talking about farmers’ plight, we were talking about water about unemployment and whichever village we went to, women would surround us. They would say – forget all this – ‘stop liquor.’”Yogendra Yadav
He said that when he checked data from the state, he found that alcohol consumption had doubled twice in the last ten years.
“For every adult male, it worked up to a quarter every day,” he added.
Dependence On Alcohol For Revenue
Yadav said that every government – right from the top to bottom are dependent on liquor money.
“Governments officially get revenue. Leaders from top to bottom get black money. Now you see why everyone is so keen to have liquor vendors open? Ice-cream vans are not open, chai shops are not open. All other routine things are not open but liquor stores must open.”Yogendra Yadav
From the top neta to the constable, everyone gets their cut in this, he added.
What Is The Solution?
According to Yadav, the only solution is a national policy for gradual reduction of liquor consumption and strict implementation of existing laws for regulation of sale.
He said that there should be focus on a financial plan that would reduce the government's dependence on liquor.
But, what about prohibition?
“The way out is not prohibition.Complete prohibition is a demand that normally leads to counter-productive results. Smuggling and all kinds of things start taking place.”Yogendra Yadav