Bihar Buying Better Food, Expensive Clothes After Liquor Ban, Say Studies

One of the studies, conducted by the think tank Asian Development Research Institute or ADRI, found the sale of expensive sarees rose by 1,751 per cent and expensive dress materials rose by 910 per cent.

Bihar Buying Better Food, Expensive Clothes After Liquor Ban, Say Studies

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had implemented a full liquor ban on April 6, 2016 (File)

Highlights

  • Honey, cheese consumption rose 6 months after Bihar's liquor ban
  • Sale of expensive sarees rose by 1,751 per cent
  • Studies were mandated by the Bihar government to study ban's impact
Patna: The liquor ban in Bihar has resulted in a dip in criminal cases, women feeling their opinion was valued more and in people spending their money in clothes and food items instead of alcohol, according to two studies mandated by the Bihar government. One of the studies, conducted by the think tank Asian Development Research Institute or ADRI, found the sale of expensive sarees rose by 1,751 per cent and expensive dress materials rose by 910 per cent.

It found the consumption of honey and cheese rose by 380 per cent and 200 per cent respectively in the first six months since the ban was implemented in April, 2016.

The study also found that 58 per cent women felt they were given more respect and played a better role in making household decisions, while 22 per cent said their opinion was counted not just for household matters, but village issues as well, according to news agency Press Trust of India.

The study also found a 66.6 per cent dip in cases of kidnapping for ransom and a 28.3 per cent dip in murder cases.

The state's 44 lakh alcoholics, according to consumption figures from 2011, saved Rs 440 crore every month which comes to Rs 5,280 crore every year, instead of spending that money on liquor, cited the study, according to PTI.

The other study, carried out by government-funded knowledge institute Development Management Institute or DMI, cited a "substantial economic impact" on the ban of alcohol. Data from 2,368 households in five districts of Nawada, Purnea, Samastipur, West Champaran and Kaimur showed people spent Rs 1,331 per week on food, compared to Rs 1,005, before the liquor ban, an increase of 32 per cent, according to PTI.

Both the ADRI and DMI studies found 19 per cent of households acquired new assets  from the money that was earlier spent on liquor.

Newsbeep

Both studies were mandated by the Bihar government to find out the consequences of the liquor ban. According to PTI, the studies are intended "as a response to demands of rural women who suffered because of the widespread practice of drinking alcohol."

Prohibition, which Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said would take the shape of a social movement, was implemented partially on April 1, 2016 and fully on April 6. The ban had Mr Kumar on the receiving end of criticism. BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi, whose party was then opposed to Nitish Kumar's JDU-RJD government, had alleged ministers and lawmakers in his government were "habitual drinkers".

"There is a climate of fear everywhere," Mr Modi had said.

Many had also cited unintended consequences of prohibition, including sending more than 14,000 people to jail since April in the state, where prisons are already overcrowded.

Bihar, then the country's emerging brewery hub, with local and foreign companies setting up plants, had to stop production, leading to more than 600 labourers losing their jobs.

(With Inputs From Agencies)