India has been placed under strict lockdown to break the chain of coronavirus from spreading. This has cost dearly to many - and businesses and economy aren't the only ones bearing the brunt of the lockdown. Even the state tax revenue has taken a major hit as all non-essential businesses remain shut. The centre has imposed a strict ban on liquor, tobacco and gutka across India, which has affected state revenues across India.
Punjab CM Amrinder Singh has formally requested the Ministry of Home Affairs to lift liquor ban in the state as it is affecting the state revenue. According to reports, Punjab earns close to Rs 6,000 crore from the liquor sales in the state. But other states, including Karnataka, Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa among others have informally requested the centre to consider relaxing restrictions of the sale of liquor.
Will liquor ban be lifted?
While the Centre's stand on continuing the ban on liquor, tobacco and gutka remains firm, sources have revealed that the Modi government might consider revisiting its decision.
"We have been given to believe that the central government could revisit the direction prohibiting the sale of alcohol," the chief secretary of one of the states was quoted as saying by the ThePrint.
The same report cites a senior central government official tasked with handling COVID-19 crisis, who said that the decision on lifting the ban on the sale of alcohol hasn't been finalised.
Center's reasoning behind the restriction
Besides the primary reason that allowing sale of alcohol would flout social distancing norms, a source in the central government suggested the negative impact of alcohol consumption could affect immunity during COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, alcohol consumption encourages "risk-taking behaviours, mental health issues and violence," the source said citing an advisory by the WHO, The Print reported.