Andhra Pradesh

Food security leads to increased alcoholism in Andhra

Women wait outside a fair price shop to purchase subsidised food grains in Adilabad. Photo: S. Harpal Singh  

With loose ends dangling, food security in the form of supply of subsidised food grains will also promote, among other things, unwanted alcoholism among men and domestic violence among the poor sections of society. The change brought about over the years through supply of subsidised foodgrains in the lives of the poor in Adilabad shows that women are now completely burdened with taking care of the family while men are given to carefree life styles.

Andhra Pradesh is among the first States in the country to experiment in food security by supplying rice at just Rs. 2 a kilogram way back in 1983. Pumping in of subsidised rice in the tribal areas of this district has had negative consequences like decline in the body resistance of the jowar consuming aboriginal people.

A greater change was initiated in 2002 when the then N. Chandrababu Naidu government introduced a Centrally-sponsored programme aimed at providing food security to the poor, the Food for Work (FFW) scheme. The poor were seen to be spending money gained through illegal sale of rice, a part of the wages, on alcohol.

From a paltry Rs. 27 crore that year, the sale of liquor by Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation Limited (APBCL) increased to Rs. 50 crore the next year. Decrease in the price of subsidised rice to Re. 1 a kg by Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in 2009 gave a big boost to liquor sales by the government which added up to Rs. 300 crore the following year subsequently jumping to Rs. 600 in the current year.

Cheap liquor

As cheap liquor accounts for over 70 per cent of all government liquor sales in this district, it can be safely assumed that the labour class has taken to alcoholism in a big way and it could further go up as the State government has brought in the Amma Hastam, a programme to supply foodgrain and groceries on subsidy. The scenario looks much worse if the sale of non duty paid and illicitly distilled liquor, assumed to be worth about Rs. 100 crore, is added to the figure.

A case study of Pusai village in Jainad mandal reveals that at least 50 per cent of its 200 male population, comprising mostly agriculture labourers and poor farmers, each consumes liquor worth a minimum of Rs. 100 every day. The average monthly income of a labourer family being about Rs. 7,000, calculated for 20 days of employment at Rs. 200 and Rs. 150 per day for men and women respectively, the expenditure on liquor itself is at least Rs. 3,000.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 5:54:49 PM |

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