Nitish Kumar, who had enacted prohibition in the state of Bihar from 1st April 2016, is now seeking to bolster his assault on alcohol. The Nitish cabinet amended the state prohibition law earlier this week, after which bureaucrats, judges or magistrates caught drinking anywhere in the world would be punished. Drinking anywhere would result in them either getting dismissed or suspended or getting salary cuts.
Since prohibition was enacted, Nitish has been making claims about the advantages of prohibition like a drop in crime rate (which as it turns out is indeed true), improved eating habits and promotion of communal harmony. This move also seems to have benefited the women in rural areas who were the ones egging Nitish Kumar for the ban and also contrary to popular perception, people in Bihar don’t seem to be generally against prohibition.
This ban has also been praised by PM Modi. Though when we look at other examples of prohibition in either India or abroad, there aren’t many encouraging signs with people anyway finding ways to procure alcohol which almost always results in a strong bootlegging network often been run by criminals, maybe these effects are yet to catch up in Bihar where the prohibition is just 10 months old.
Also without getting into the pros and cons of the prohibition, this latest order of the Nitish might be taking things a bit too far. If there’s no rule in a region which prevents someone from drinking alcohol and the fact remains that the officials were already banned from drinking on duty, then why should such rules be extended to their personal life? Also isn’t it a case of a government infringing in the private lives of its citizens and them getting denied their freedom of choice?
Furthermore, if Nitish Kumar is indeed concerned about the alcohol problem, why doesn’t he extend the same rules to the MLAs, MPs and other politicians? Isn’t it in the ‘spirit’ of democracy that if it applies to the officials, it should also apply to the politicians?
Having said that, it’s extremely unlikely that the Nitish government would be able to punish officials if they end up sipping wine in Napa Valley or getting passed out drunk in Ibiza. Also there have been instances where the Russian Space agencies have allowed astronauts to consume alcohol, so the next record ISRO might set up would be to transport 104 Bihar officials into space.
Though guess after this decision, for some youths the dream of having a government job has somewhat subsided.