Kerala finally gets liquor policy right
Apropos of the edit ‘BarsNOTbarred’ (FE, June 12), crafting an acceptable Abkari policy is a tricky business for any government. If the new policy would set the stage for a complete rollback of the prohibition, the task becomes really onerous. Towards the end, the United Democratic Front government in Kerala hastily announced a hotchpotch policy, constricting the sale of liquor—seemingly to serve many vested purposes. Far from reducing consumption, the move created long queues in front of beverage outlet. It became the butt of ridicule instantly. Tourism sector, the lifeline of the state’s finance, suffered, what with the backwaters unable to protect revenues and jobs without any liquor. And, the fact that the states where prohibition had been in force for decades, grappled with the menace of illicit sales and spurious liquor was lost on advocates of the ban. Against this backdrop, the new liquor policy of the Kerala government, recently announced, is conceptually well-knit and realistic. Regulated sale of quality liquor and toddy, and a relentless campaign to promote abstinence in the younger generation is, undoubtedly, the right way to cut alcohol consumption.
— Haridasan Rajan, Kozhikode
Loan waiver fever
This refers to the report “Farm loan waiver: If states finance largesse from budgets, deficits will surge” (FE, June 13). If a state decides to pass on the burden of financing farm loan waivers to the people in the guise of increasing milk prices, then it is unfortunate. Maharashtra is planning to do this, apart from reducing development expenditure and delaying implementation of Seventh Pay Commission recommendations. Waiving farm loans is going to be a regular feature, not an one-off thing. Efforts should be made to prevent farm distress. It will be disastrous if loan waivers become a regular feature.
— Deendayal M Lulla, via e-mail