After the resumption of the liquor sale in government controlled IMFL shops n other indigenous outlets in various states of the country, though not fully but partially, exercising reasonable restraints in view of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic, almost every state of the country where the liquor shops have been opened, after more than forty days lockdown, the situation has become beyond control as the buyers have become berserk leading to police action in some states, with desperate liquor buyers going awry and running here and there, protecting themselves from police lathi charge and action.
There have been long and unending queues in majority of the liquor shops in areas like Kapasheta, Loni Road, Uttam Nagar etc in Delhi and in several states like Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand etc. with the buyers buying in bulk apprehensive of future lockdown. The way all the recently opened IMF liquor shops at the pan India level have witnessed massive crowd and unending long queues of several kilometres it has become quite unambiguous that those prone to liquor consumption have been longing for the opening of the IMFL shops closed since March 3rd in view of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The reason behind opening of the liquor shops after 41 days, though partially in several states of the country under strict instructions and guidelines of maintaining social distance n wearing masks etc has been to generate maximum revenue in view of the states experiencing empty financial coffers, not even able to pay the monthly salaries of government employees. The revenue minister of Karnataka and Delhi chief munister Arvind Kejrival and even Karnataka CM Yediyurappa have publicly disclosed about their states’ financial plight, not able to confront the deteriorating financial condition in the near future in view of the closing of manufacturing sector and finance generating business like liquor sales etc. Even the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejrival had in one of his latest press conference openly admitted the state facing financial crunch of several thousand crores in view of the lockdown, not even able to pay the salaries of the government employees. He had revealed that in view of the lockdown which is though necessary, the state government has suffered badly , as its financial coffers are empty and if the manufacturing sector or productive activities are not resumed the situation will become critical.
Kejrival disclosed that the state which used to receive 3.5 thousand crores as taxes has today received merely 300 crores leading the state to bankruptcy. According to a business today report the budget estimates of 16 large states ( except Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar) had expected to generate and collect revenue through liquor sales to the tune of Rs. 1.65 lakh crore in 20-21 but with the lockdown these estimates will go down significantly. Similarly, the state of Uttarakhand which is already running in huge fiscal deficit of more than 35 thousand crores, also generates more than 2000 crores anually from massive alcohol sales.
Some news reports suggest that during the 40 days lockdown there had been the daily loss of around 700 crore of rupees due to the closure of liquor shops and now after the opening of liquor shops several states would be able to collect a significant revenue thus resurrecting the states’ crunching economy.
Sources reveal that about 20 to thirty percent of the revene in every state is generated through massive liquor sales in government liquor outlets. In the year 2019, the states generated about Rs 2.50 lakh crores through liquor sales. The states suffered about Rs 27 thousand crores loss during the 40 days lockdown period. In view of the resumption of liquor sales through government’s IMFL and other registered outlets, the states have experienced an immense sigh of relief hoping to tide over the ongoing financial crisis due to the impending pendemic. While the states are heaving the sigh of relief after the opening of liquor shops generating good money to bring the deteriorating economy back on rails, the house wives experiencing huge relief during the lockdown with their liquor consuming husbands in good state of health are today in the state of tension n worry. In some of the liquor shops the women had demonstrated in protest demanding revocation of the orders forthwith.