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With liquor out, Bihar splurges on saris

A file photo of country liquor stock being destroyed in Patna.

A file photo of country liquor stock being destroyed in Patna.   | Photo Credit: Ranjeet Kumar

Consumption of honey, cheese rises: study

Prohibition is making people of Bihar spend on good clothes and food with sale of expensive sarees rising by 1,751%, while consumption of honey by 380% and that of cheese by 200% in the first six months of the ban, according to latest studies on the measure.

The studies, conducted by think tank Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) and government-funded Development Management Institute (DMI), also pointed out that 19% of households acquired new assets from the money they earlier splurged on alcohol.

Rural women

Both studies were commissioned by the State to evaluate consequences of prohibition, which came into force in April, 2016 “mainly as a response to demands of rural women who suffered because of the widespread practice of drinking alcohol.” The findings were appended to the economic survey report and tabled before the Assembly this year.

The ADRI study took stock of purchasing behaviour as recorded at retail outlets of COMFED (Bihar State Milk Co-operative Federation), better known by the brand name “Sudha.”

It noted that the consumption of honey registered a monumental increase by 380% and cheese by 200%.

An impressive rise in sale was also recorded for items like butter milk 40%, flavoured milk 28.4% and lassi 19.7%, the report said.

The ADRI study collected data on purchase of a few other consumer items as well, based on sales tax revenues.

The increase was substantial — the sale of expensive sarees rose by 1,751%, expensive dress materials by 910%, processed food by 46%, furniture by 20% and sports goods by 18%.

The other study done by DMI also underscored the “substantial economic impact” of the ban on alcohol.

The DMI study, based on primary data collected from 2,368 households in five districts of Nawada, Purnea, Samastipur, West Champaran and Kaimur, noted that families reported a weekly expenditure of ₹ 1,331 on food after prohibition, compared to ₹ 1,005 before the ban, implying an increase of 32%.

New assests

“After prohibition, 19% of households acquired new assets and another 5% spent money on renovating their houses,” the study said.

It also observed that 58% women feel they were given more respect and played a better role in making household decisions. Going further, 22% of women said their opinion was now counted not just for household matters, but for village issues as well, the study added.

On the crime front, the ADRI report noted there was a 66.6% dip in cases of kidnapping for ransom, followed by 28.3% dip in murder cases and 2.3% in dacoity.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2020 3:29:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/with-liquor-out-bihar-spends-more-on-sarees/article24187358.ece

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