Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday called for a nationwide ban on liquor and said the prohibition imposed in his state in 2016 has not made it poorer.
“It [liquor ban] should not only be implemented in nearby states but also in the entire country,” Kumar said at a convention on “liquor-free India” in New Delhi, the Hindustan Times reported. “It was Mahatma Gandhi’s wish, he had said liquor destroys lives.”
Besides Bihar, alcohol is currently prohibited in Gujarat, Nagaland, Mizoram and Lakshadweep.
He added: “In the past, at times, alcohol ban has been imposed in the country, but it was revoked later on. It was also imposed in Bihar by former Bihar CM Karpoori Thakur but could not be implemented fully.” Kumar added that he had begun planning to impose the liquor ban in Bihar in 2011 and could bring it about finally in 2016.
“Those who cite revenue loss as a justification for not going ahead with prohibition, I will say these are nothing but bogus claims,” Kumar said, according to The Times of India. He offered states the opportunity to study Bihar and also sought a ban on online pornography.
He claimed that Bihar has recovered from its modest initial losses and that more revenue was generated from other household products. “Revenue started going up on things like milk, mithai (sweets), clothes,” Kumar said. “The women have played a big role in making the implementation of prohibition a success.”
In 2017, Kumar claimed that the liquor ban had brought down crime rate in the state and helped improve the state’s economy. The Janata Dal (United) chief minister has called for a nationwide ban on the sale of alcohol in the past as well.