Kerala  government mulls to resume online sale of liquor in the state amid coronavirus pandemic
Kerala government mulls to resume online sale of liquor in the state amid coronavirus pandemic

The signs appear ominous for all tipplers as the first move to restart sale of liquor after it was stopped on March 25, began with the state owned Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) - the sole wholesaler of liquor and beer in the state, sought the help on how information technology can be used for sales matching all the health protocols.

Bevco supremo, Sparjan Kumar has approached the State run Start-up Mission to identify the apt IT service provider who will be able to come with a full proof virtual IT solution, so as to commence online sale of liquor and beer.

The cash strapped state exchequer has been reeling for lack of revenue and last month all what the state government could garner from various sources was a mere Rs 250 crore.

For fund starved Kerala, revenue on liquor and beer is one of the biggest cash cow and in the last fiscal it recorded a total of Rs 14,504.67 crore and hence the devolution of IT into Bevco, would be a big relief for the state's finances.

In the aftermath of the partial breakdown of law and order in and around the liquor outlets in some states, after it was recently opened, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was forced to ask State Police Chief Loknath Behera to find out how best can security be maintained in case the retail outlets open.

So with that plan already in hand, the authorities expect with a virtual sale protocol in place, things can be managed as it will be a boon for both tipplers and the state's finances.

The profile of liquor users in the state in an earlier study reveals that around 32.9 lakh people out of the 3.34 crore population in the state consume liquor, which includes 29.8 lakh men and 3.1 lakh women.

Around five lakh people in Kerala, consume liquor on a daily basis. Of this, around 83,851 people including 1,043 women are addicted to alcohol, according to state government statistics.

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