Essay on Prohibitions in Social Welfare Programme in India



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In December, 1954, the Prohibition Enquiry Committee was appointed to suggest a programme and machinery for the implementation of the directive in the light of the experience of the State in implementing their prohibition policies in the past.

As a result of the recommendations of the Committee, the Lok Sabha resolved to form a programme to bring about nation-wide prohibition speedily and effectively.

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The Third Five Year Plan has laid emphasis on prohibition being a voluntary special welfare movement whose success depends on (i) its acceptance as public policy accompanied by concrete administrative steps to make the policy a reality, (ii) support of large section of public opinion and active participation of social workers and voluntary organisations, (iii) finding practical solutions to problem arising out of it, such as unemployment and (iv) enabling state governments to meet possible loss of revenue of progress of prohibition.

A Central Prohibition Committee has been set up to review the progress of prohibition programme, coordinate the activities in different States and keep in touch with their practical difficulties.

The Committee also suggests ways and means to intensify propaganda, in favour of prohibition, promotes research on the economic and social-implications of prohibition and recommends measures to encourage and assist official and nonofficial agencies devoted to prohibition and temperance propaganda, cure and rehabilitation of alcoholics and drink addicts and scientific research in respect of problems associated with prohibition.

Prohibition is being enforced in almost all the states and Union territories through gradual stages. There is complete prohibition in Gujarat, Madras, Maharashtra and partial prohibition in other States.

The steps taken in this behalf by the different states consist of increasing of rates of duty on both foreign and country liquor, stoppage of issue of new liquor licenses, prohibition of serving liquor in public places and closure of liquor shops on national days, removing of liquor shops from industrial areas and tea gardens in Assam.

So far as the States of Haryana and Punjab are concerned, total prohibition exists only in the District of Rohtak and steps have been taken in other districts to reduce sale and consumption of liquor through restriction of the grant of licenses and sale of liquor, etc. Other steps taken by the State Government include imposing restriction on advertisements relating to drinking and closure of liquor shops once in a week with effect from April, 1962.

Complete prohibition of the consumption of opium except on medical grounds, has come into force since April 1, 1959.

For some time past, a controversy has arisen about the success of prohibition. In some places prohibition has achieved little success; rather it has proved an utter failure. That has urged the authorities to reconsider whether to scrap prohibition altogether forthwith or to give it more trial.

Some States are inclined to do away with it unilaterally without the approval of the Central’ Government. Pt. Nehru was in favour of prohibition and soon Gandhiji tent, any final decision in the matter has been left to the states as it affects adversely their financial position. Income from Excise Duty is a long drain of state exchequer.

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