Editorial: Kerala’s Dry Day Dilemma

Editorial: Kerala’s Dry Day Dilemma

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Thursday, May 23, 2024, 09:32 PM IST
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Representative Pic | Travis Aguilar/Pixabay

In the whimsical world of Kerala politics, where even the most well-intentioned decisions can take a comical twist, then Chief Minister Saint Antony, aka AK Antony, holds a special place. His decree in 2003 to close liquor shops on the first day of every month, intended to prevent state employees from squandering their freshly acquired salaries, became a legendary misfire when it turned out that salaries were seldom paid on the first day itself. Antony’s legacy includes not just dry days but also the banning of arrack, earning him the dubious honour of curbing the common man’s tipple. However, reality bites harder than the hangover, as the government in God’s own country heavily relies on liquor and lottery sales to fill its coffers.

Enter Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, facing a fiscal dry spell and the realisation that revenue needs a shot in the arm. His solution? Do away with dry days altogether, once the election frenzy subsides and the model code of conduct takes a backseat. Yet, amidst the clinking of glasses and the rustle of lottery tickets, there’s a sobering truth: both vices are as harmful as they are addictive. For every rupee earned from liquor taxes, there’s a toll on health, with bankruptcy often the bitter chaser. Similarly, the allure of the lottery fosters a culture of gambling, enriching only the government and its agents. It’s a topsy-turvy world where the government, on one hand, profits from vice, while on the other, spends to combat its ill-effects. It’s a dance of contradictions, where promotion and prevention waltz hand in hand, leaving citizens caught in the crossfire. In this merry-go-round of policy paradoxes, one thing remains clear: the need for a more sober approach to governance, where the well-being of citizens take precedence over fiscal gains from vices.

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