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Marandi govt on excise high

Ranchi, Sept. 13: The Babulal Marandi government today unveiled a draft excise policy that focuses on raising as much as revenue as possible and glosses over a debate on prohibition as well as the need to the check the practice of tribal women selling hadia on pavements.

The draft policy, prepared by the J.L. Arya committee, has pegged the potential revenue generation from sale of liquor in Jharkhand at Rs 754.80 crore.

The committee, which toured nine states, said Punjab and Haryana, despite being less populous than Jharkhand, generate high revenues of Rs 1,324 crore and Rs 851 crore, respectively, from the sale of liquor.

The panel’s most interesting finding was that states which have literacy levels higher than the national average of 65 per cent have high liquor consumption and excise generation. “Against an annual consumption of 47.62 lakh litres in Jharkhand (literacy 54.13 per cent), Punjab (literacy 69.95 per cent) consumes 4.40 crore litres, Haryana (literacy 68.59 per cent) 4.50 crore litres and Himachal Pradesh (literacy 77.13 per cent) 88.08 lakh litres, respectively,” the report said.

The chief minister said he would ask officials to go through the draft fast so that the proposals could be implemented before the state’s second anniversary on November 15.

Asked if the government intended to launch an anti-liquor campaign, excise minister Ramesh Singh Munda said several NGOs were already doing that. A few months ago, the Assembly had discussed prohibition, the sale of hadia and the brewing of illicit liquor. Several suggestions were made to ban the sale of liquor in the state.

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