Governments find it hard to eschew morality when framing policies. Very often this leads to poor policies.
On Thursday, however, the Tamil Nadu government eschewed “morality” in one area: It ruled out prohibition in the state.
The state’s minister for prohibition and excise R. Viswanathan told the state assembly that such a step would only lead to anti-social elements getting Rs 15,000 crore, money that flows into the state exchequer from the sale of liquor.
He is quite correct in assessing the economics of the situation. There is no prohibition in states neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Imposing prohibition will only lead to an increase in crime and loss of revenue even as consumption of liquor is likely to remain constant—at higher prices, of course.
Liquor has harmful health effects. But strategies to counter that problem have to be different. Bans can’t procure good health