Last year, the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh decided to relax the rules for setting up bars at liquor shops and also at resorts in the vicinity of core areas of reserve forests to promote tourism and enhance the revenues.
In November 2019, Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan threatened agitation against the incumbent Kamal Nath government, if it didn’t rescind permission to liquor shops in the state to operate bars. Chouhan then said the move will lead to increase in crime against women and that the state government was playing with people’s health and public order in the name of enhancing revenue.
The BJP vice president said on the Madhya Pradesh Foundation Day.
It will lead to an increase in crime, especially against women.
However, Nath has gone one step ahead and has decided to open exclusive liquor shops for women in the state. The “women-friendly” alcohol shops will sell wine and whiskey of brands that are popular among female tipplers. Two such liquor outlets each will be opened in Bhopal and Indore, and one each in Jabalpur and Gwalior. This is a part of the Madhya Pradesh government’s new excise policy which will come into effect from April 1.
Additional Chief secretary, commercial tax department, ICP Keshri said,
The “women-friendly” liquor outlets will only offer foreign liquor, known as bottled in origin. It means even the liquor brands that are not registered in the state would be available for sale at these shops.
Speaking to TOI, officials said that no additional duty would be levied on these foreign liquor brands, as it is brought to the country after paying duty.
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These “women-friendly” alcohol shops would be opened in malls or upmarket places. Further, in a bid to promote state-made wines, the government has also decided to hold wine festivals in Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur. Besides, the state government will set up 15 new wine shops tourist places to promote wine made of grapes in Ratlam and other pockets of the state. Prices of alcohol in Madhya Pradesh will go up by 15 percent from April 1.
The Kamal Nath government aims to generate additional revenue worth Rs 2,000 crore from excise this year. The revenue for this year was Rs 11,500 crore, which is expected to go up to Rs 13,500 crore. Liquor prices in Madhya Pradesh are the second-highest in the country.
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Last week, Minister of Commercial Tax in the Madhya Pradesh government, Brajendra Singh Rathore, refuted reports that the government was planning to start home delivery of liquor in the state. Singh said,
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There is no provision to deliver liquor online to households. The online system is to curb theft that used to happen. It is for goods that are supplied to warehouses from factories.
The clarification had come after multiple media reports had cited that the state government is planning to begin online delivery of liquor.
Well, the above story is not to portray women in poor light. Surely, they are free to drink and live their life in their own right. However, our problem mainly exists with two points:
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- What happens to Equality if we want woman-only liquor bars, free buses rides, reserved metro seats, others in the name of appeasement?
- When it comes to reforms in society, we all want to hail the progress made by women on both personal and professional platforms. But when it comes to Matrimonial or Gender specific laws, we still want to treat them as the weaker sex, thereby pushing the entire burden of being the ‘provider‘ on the Man solely.