Predatory prohibition on killing spree; Brace for economic shocks; Let lions roar outside Gujarat too  

Kotad hooch tragedy; IMG growth projections; Asiatic lion
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Opinion Watch

The political class commits many frauds on people by building an edifice of morality, including prohibition policy, which drives the poor to consumer poisonous chemicals that kills hundreds of men each year.

The hooch tragedy in Gujarat’s Botad district has killed 37 people, according to The Times of India, 40 as per The Hindu, with both the dailies slamming the prohibition policy of the State.

Gujarat is widely known for being the ‘liquor home delivery’ State, with the police, politicians, and Babus making the quick bucks. The State has a prohibition law since 1949.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has also driven the State to financial bankruptcy with his foolhardy prohibition policy.

ToI reminds that 115 people have been killed by spurious liquor in Bihar this year.

The Gujarat hooch tragedy was caused, ToI tells, by the people consuming methyl alcohol, which had been stolen by the bootleggers from the state industries.

The daily strikes right note by stating that over 30 lakh cases are lodged in courts for violation of prohibition laws in different States. In 2020, Gujarat alone accounted for half the cases.

The Hindu has mentioned the legal challenge of the constitutional validity of the Gujarat Prohibition Act, 1949 on grounds that it violates fundamental rights, including privacy. The law is being questioned for its alleged arbitrariness as it allows tourists to consume alcohol in the State, added TH.

Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and elsewhere, a section of the political class has sought to rally women against liquor consumption in their bids to make a political career.

A total prohibition sends people to kill themselves and an excessive availability sends delinquents on nuisance spree, while a balance can be struck if the State adopts prudent policy and the police are self-disciplined to not look for money when they see people on the street.

Economies in tailspin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has wrecked the global economy with his outrageous invasion of Ukraine.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had downgraded India’s growth projection to 7.4 per cent for 2022-23, lower by 0.8 per cent.

The Economic Times noted that India’s two largest trading partners the US and China are also in tight spot, with their growth projections also lowered, both projected to low down by 1.4 and 1.1 per cent respectively.

More pain is in store as ET tells that the IMF has projected a growth rate of 6.1 per cent for India next year.

The principal villain indeed is the rising interest rates on account of the unprecedented spike in inflation.

But the ET ends its commentary abruptly without bothering to mention that the growth slowdown fears have been around for more than a year, and there appears no urgency on the government to launch slogging to turn the tide.

Roar of lions

 Gujarat blocking relocation of some of the Asiatic lions from the Gir National Park is an old story. Madhya Pradesh has been waiting for decades to welcome the bearded wild animal. Ironically, both the States are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Indian Express has sought to nail the Gujarat government’s bid to stall efforts to relocate the lions to Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

Gujarat for years claims that lions are family members who cannot be parted with.

ToI has warned that the Gir National Park is saturated with the carrying capacity and there are episodes of the wild majesty strolling into the villages.

The daily also refers to risks such as canine distemper outbreaks that killed 1000 African lions in Tanzania in 1990s.

The Gujarat government is ready only for assisted natural dispersal of Asiatic lions to Saurashtra region of the State and Rajasthan at the most, noted the daily.

The Kuno National Park, meanwhile, is importing Cheetahs and African lions from Namibia.

The Asiatic lions once roamed several States in India, and Gujarat cannot claim sole ownership of the national legacy. Indeed, Gir National Park is Gujarat’s cash cow. But more the better is an age-old wisdom, and the Centre should step in to help Asiatic lions roar in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh also.

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