Liquor Kills More Lives In India Than Coronavirus But How Come It Lifts Up The Economy Amid Lockdown?

Bhavna Acharya |May 06, 2020

As the whole economy is being hit hard due to the coronavirus outbreak, it seems like the government is trying to boost the dry economy and soothe people by re-opening liquor shops amid lockdown 3.0. But are we on the right track?

As the whole country is entering the third phase of Lockdown, the government came to the decision of loosening the lockdown rules, according to which, some nonessential services including liquor shops have been reopened. In fact, the whole country was taken by storm over the last two days as people have been rushing into liquor shops, making long queues amid the virus infection outbreak, and stockpiling their house with alcohol. 

India Liquor Shop
A long queue in front of a liquor shop on the first re-opening day

Liquor panic buying across the country

Meanwhile, the internet went wild with photos of people making endless queues in front of liquor shops, waiting under the scorching heat of May, defying the threat of virus exposure and social distancing rules to get their favorite type of alcohol. As the number of positive cases continues to soar up in Mumbai over the last few days, the Maharashtra government came to withdraw the relaxation which means liquor shops will be shut down again in Mumbai starting from Wednesday.

After the first day of reopening liquor shops, the liquor sale in Uttar Pradesh reached Rs 100 crore with 24.1 lakh liter liquor being sold. In other states like Maharashtra and Karnataka, the sale is also much higher than usual with Rs 62 crore and 45 crores representatively. 

Liquor Shops
24.1 lakh liter liquor worth Rs 100 crore was sold after the first day of liquor shop re-opening in Uttar Pradesh

Liquor shops save the economy but kill lives

There is no doubt that the alcohol beverage industry is one of the largest sectors of the Indian economy and the largest whiskey industry in the world with US$52,5M net worth. Meanwhile, we are also one of the highest alcohol consumption countries in Asia and the average amount of consumed alcohol is continuing to increase from 4.3 liters in 2010 to 5.7 liters in 2016. 

Indian Alcohol Revenue
The revenue of the alcohol beverage industry of India is racking up over the year with both domestic and international alcohol brands

As the whole economy is being hit hard due to the coronavirus outbreak, it seems like the government is trying to save it by re-opening liquor shops amid lockdown 3.0. In fact, some states including Dehli have imposed the so-called 'corona special fee' which is 70% higher on liquor shops during this time. And this is how they curb the economy:

However, there is an upset fact that liquor is killing more lives in India than coronavirus does. According to a WHO report, 2,6 lakh Indian people die of alcohol every year while there are more than 3M deaths all over the world each year due to the harmful use of alcohol. You might not be aware but 1 in 5 Indians are alcohol addicted. Meanwhile, the total number of COVID-19 death cases in India up to date is 1,694. It was not a small number but means nothing in comparison to the number of alcohol-related deaths.  

Liquor Shops
Alcohol kills more than 2.6 lakh of India every year while coronavirus causes 1,694 deaths in India

The silent killer

In fact, alcohol is the silent killer which claims people live in many ways. It not only destroys our body organs slowly and causes liver cirrhosis, cancer but also a direct reason for several traffic accidents. Not to mention the indirect consequences of alcohol to society like domestic violence, poverty, sexual assault, and low-productivity. The alcohol beverage industry, however, is becoming a major source of income for the Indian government.

Obviously liquor it's not a good way to boost the dry economy or to soothe people amid the lockdown harsh. The consequences of alcohol are visible and much more serious than you might think. It kills more lives than coronavirus or any other pandemic that ever happened to human kinds, how come it remains the position as one of the top industry and 'the cure' for lockdown blue?

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