Friday, May 7, 2010

Letter to Union Health Minister on Liquor Control

7th May 2010

Shri Gulam Nabi Azad
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare
South Avenue Lane
New Delhi

Dear Shri Gulam Nabi Azad ji,

We appreciate your recent efforts on Alcohol Consumption Control Policy in States and towards ensuring that the respective State Health Departments develop and implement the same. Such a policy becomes crucial as consumption of alcohol is ruining lakhs of households in the nation.

As you are aware, liquor has become major source of revenue for many State governments. In Andhra Pradesh successive state governments have generated income through liquor license auctions, sales tax, excise duties and other such avenues unmindful of the ill-effects that consumption of liquor has caused in over 75 lakh households in the State.

According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences for the World Health Organization; alcohol generates a revenue of Rs.21,600 crore while the losses caused by it in terms of health amount to Rs.24,400 crore. It can be understood that the gain of Rs.15000 crore to the Andhra Pradesh by way of liquor would mean a loss of Rs.16,944 crore to the public in terms of health care costs.

Andhra Pradesh Government has not yet acted upon the advice of the Union Health Ministry: its primary focus appears to be maximizing revenue through the sale and consumption of alcohol even at the cost of people’s health. Despite, repeated appeals from the Lok Satta Party, the State Government is yet to act upon the Government of India’s advice to impose curbs on curbs on alcohol consumption and seek compensation from it for any loss of revenue. Also the Andhra Pradesh government had earlier constituted a committee to carry on an anti-liquor awareness campaign has not reconstituted the committee on the expiry of its tenure.

We therefore urge you to ensure that concrete measures are put in place so that Health Departments in the States are empowered to oversee all alcohol-related issues, in the States. If necessary, the Government of India can legislate under Article 249 of the Constitution on a subject in the State list.

In view of the importance of the issue, we are marking a copy of this letter to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Governor of Andhra Pradesh.


V. Lakshman Balaji
General Secretary,
Lok Satta Party

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