High on prohibition, Bihar stays at bottom on social progress


Photo credit Twitter Adv Jayram Sharma

Spread the love

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, December 22: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been in a spot following the Saran hooch tragedy in which several people lost their lives after consuming illicit liquor. Kumar’s political bet with ban on consumption of liquor is leaving a telling trail on the economy of the state.

Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) released a report on the state of social progress index, which clubbed Bihar at the bottom in the sixth category of the states with ‘very low social progress’. The index mapped the states on basic needs such as nutrition, access to medical services, sanitation, access to education, etc. As many as 27 districts of Bihar were in the bottom category with least social progress.

The report stated that Bihar must strengthen components of social progress like nutrition and basic medical care, access to information and communication, and access to advanced education to achieve high social progress. “Tier-6 districts have some of the lowest scores across components like nutrition, basic medical care, and access to advanced education. The districts have also performed poorly across personal rights and access to information and communication. Over 71 per cent of Bihar’s districts belong to this category,” added the report, which also state that the state while scoring well in terms of water and sanitation and personal safety, “Bihar’s districts have abysmally low scores across access to advanced education and nutrition and basic medical care component”.

The abysmal state of the social progress index for Bihar has come at a time when the state is debating the efficacy of the prohibition law, which has been in force since 2016. The Bihar-based political observers are arguing that the state is losing on the revenue by outlawing consumption of liquor, which could have been spent in improving several of the social indicators in the state. States in India earn about 15-20 per cent of their revenue from the taxes on liquor.

“Besides losing on the revenue from the liquor to a parallel syndicate consisting of the police, politician and the criminals, Bihar is also losing the share of revenue potential as events are being held outside the state. Events, which could have otherwise been held in Bihar, are being organised in Varanasi, Kolkata and even Kathmandu. Also, marriage functions are also being held outside the state, which add to the loss of revenue of Bihar,” said a senior political observer from Bihar. (To be continued…)

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *