Pragmatic Step: Kerala's New Liquor Policy

The Kerala government wisely cuts its losses by relaxing restrictions on bar licences

The Kerala government’s new liquor policy is a pragmatic step that may help boost its revenue and retrieve lost ground in the tourism sector. More important, it will end the discrimination in favour of five-star hotels. Kerala’s erstwhile United Democratic Front government had restricted bar permits to five-star hotels alone, resulting in more than 700 hotels of other categories losing their bar licences. Under the new policy, hotels in the three- and four-star category may also have bars that serve Indian Made Foreign Liquor. Two-star hotels are permitted to serve wine and beer. At the same time, the Left Democratic Front government in the State has sought to give a boost to the traditional toddy business by allowing hotel bars to sell toddy too. To partially offset criticism, it has raised the legal drinking age from 21 to 23. The new excise policy is, of course, no surprise as the LDF election manifesto had made it clear that it does not favour prohibition and would rather emphasis on voluntary abstinence. In a State that has a high per capita alcohol consumption, there is a case for a vigorous campaign about the ill-effects of being addicted to alcohol, as opposed to one that makes liquor scarce and encourages bootlegging. The government has waited for a year before unveiling the changes it wanted, lest it be seen as acting in undue haste. Politically, the LDF is on firm ground. The UDF regime’s hard-line liquor policy was the result of an internal game of one-upmanship between factions, and that decision did not help it return to power.

Some opposition to the new policy is expected from influential religious groups as well as opposition parties. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has justified his decision to liberalise the sector by describing the earlier policy, which had received the Supreme Court’s approbation as well, as a ‘fiasco’, as the restrictions on the sale of liquor had brought down tourism traffic, caused job losses and led to a spike in drug abuse. He will now have to ensure that the purported positive outcomes, such as revitalising the tourism sector and the hotel industry, boosting employment and ending the brewing of hooch are actualised on the ground. The big challenge lies in pursuing this policy without violating the Supreme Court’s ban on having liquor outlets within 500 metres of national and State highways. News that a 1983 document of the Indian Roads Congress has said all highways automatically become arterial roads or sub-arterial roads while passing through urban areas gives a new dimension to the highway ban. State governments may now consider examining this aspect to get the Supreme Court to relax its highway ban in respect of hotels located within towns and cities. As protests mount against relocating bars from highways to interior residential areas, the situation calls for a pragmatic and holistic solution. Source :THE HINDU


1) Pragmatic (व्यावहारिक) - Prag-mat-ik
Meaning - dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations - Adjective
Synonyms - Efficient, logical
Antonyms - excited, irrational
Example - We need to adopt a more pragmatic approach.

2) Retrieve (पुनः प्राप्त) - Ret-r-eve
Meaning - get or bring (something) back from somewhere - Verb
an act of retrieving something, especially game that has been shot - Noun
Synonyms - fetch, recover
Antonyms - break, damage
Example - The police have managed to retrieve some of the stolen money.

3) Erstwhile (भूतपूर्व) - Er-st-while
Meaning - former - Adjective
formerly - Adverb
Synonyms - old, past
Example - His erstwhile friends turned against him.

4) Abstinence (परहेज़) - Abs-tin-ence
Meaning - the practice of restraining oneself from indulging in something, typically alcohol or sex - Noun
Synonyms - chastity, moderation
Antonyms - excess, revelry
Example - The patient should practice total abstinence from smoking.

5) Vigorous (व्यवसायिक) - Vig-rous
Meaning - strong, healthy, and full of energy - Adjective
Synonyms - active, brisk
Antonyms - delicate, facile
Example - The older woman was unable to participate in the vigorous boot camp training.

6) Revitalising (पुनः सशक्त) - Re-vital-ize-ing
Meaning - imbue (something) with new life and vitality - Verb
Synonyms - brace, fortify
Example - Let’s hope that this action can help revitalize your career.

7) Brewing (निर्माणाधीन होना) - Brew-ing
Meaning - (of an unwelcome event or situation) begin to develop - Verb
Synonyms - develop, ferment
Antonyms - dehydrate, dry
Example - A storm had been brewing all day.

8) Arterial (धमनीय) - Art-e-real
Meaning - denoting an important route in a system of roads, railway lines, or rivers - Adjective
Synonyms - expressway, highway
Example - This is one of the main arterial routes from New York.

9) Demure (संकोची) - Dim-your
Meaning - (of a woman or her behaviour) reserved, modest, and shy - Adjective
Synonyms - modest, meek
Antonyms - bold, brave
Example (English) - After playing a role of demure wife in 'English Vinglish', Sridevi is all set to return with a thrilling film 'Mom'.
Example (Hindi) - 'इंग्लिश विंग्लिश' में शान्त पत्नी की भूमिका निभाने के बाद, श्रीदेवी एक रोमांचक फिल्म 'माँ' के साथ वापस आने के लिए तैयार हैं।

    Now considering the article above as a Reading Comprehension question, try to answer the following -
    • What is the logic behind Kerala’s new liquor policy?
    • How is Kerala before and after the liquor ban?
    Given below are some words to check your vocabulary you can make sentences with those words in the comment section which will be reviewed by us.
    • Partially
    • Prohibition
    • Emphasize
    • Holistic
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