After months of anxious wait, the Kerala government has opened liquor outlets on May 28. Amid an increasing number of coronavirus cases in the state, the government is selling liquor in the state using an app named 'BevQ' which offers a virtual queue system for buyers. Even though the reopening of liquor outlets received widespread criticisms from several corners, the Kerala government decided to open these stores to stabilize the financial stability of the state.
Why Liquor and Lottery for revenue generation?
Even though touted to be one of the most developed states in India, Kerala still rely heavily on liquor and lottery sale for revenue generation, despite the availability of unending resources. Unlike other states, Kerala sells liquor only through beverage corporation outlets, and this move aims to reap the maximum profit out of this business. It should be also noted that the market price of several liquor brands in Kerala is much higher when compared to other states, as the government charges more than ten-fold the original price as state tax for alcoholic drinks.
It should be noted that Kerala is a country that can be transformed into a hot tourist destination. However, over the past few years, the tourism sector in the state has been facing a setback, as the government pays more attention to reap revenue through liquor and lottery sales. Interestingly, the finance minister in Kerala is Dr TM Thomas Isaac, who is widely known as a top-rated economic scientist. But, the recent press conferences conducted by Isaac clearly reveal that the state is financially shattered, and there are no other revenue sources other than liquor sales in Kerala.
In the early 1990s, several multinational IT companies considered Kerala as the perfect destination to open their offices in India. However, due to increased trade union activities and red tape issues, these companies changed their mind and opened offices in Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad. Even now, several office spaces in Cochin Infopark and Trivandrum Technopark are vacant as companies prefer Bangalore to open offices.
Kerala model failing in coronavirus containment?
In the meantime, coronavirus cases in Kerala are increasing drastically in recent days, and several medical experts have revealed that the state is on the verge of a community spread. In the earlier days of the outbreak, Kerala had received widespread acclaim for its containment measures, but post the arrival of NRIs and Keralites living in other states of India, things have taken an unexpected turn.
Adding up to the worries, several healthcare workers in Kerala have also tested positive for coronavirus. In the Palakkad district alone, four healthcare workers are currently under treatment, and in the district hospital, there are 88 inpatient coronavirus cases.