Alcohol is one of the main social evils in Chhattisgarh, but government is reluctant to let go of the tax revenue.
Alcohol abuse is emerging as a major public health concern in India today. Officially, Indians are still among the world’s lowest consumers of alcohol – statistics show that only 21% of adult men and 2% of women drink. But a fifth of this group – about 14 million people – have developed forms of addiction.
Sarwat has witnessed the effects of such addiction around him, with alcoholism not only causing severe health problems to the drinker, but also leading to domestic violence and destruction of families. Besides, he feels that the government is providing absolutely no response to this social issue. “Near my house, there are three liquor shops. But not a single shop from which you could buy what you need daily,” said Sarwat. According to him, the government is reluctant to implement a ban on alcohol, which provides a large source of tax revenue.
Some groups have started taking action, advocating for a ban on alcohol in the state of Chhattisgarh. One of these groups, including journalists, social activists and engaged citizens, led by Bhau Anand Kumar, an important political figure, has obtained from the government the promise to not renew the licence of 250 shops selling alcohol. Following their example other groups, amongst which are numerous women’s self-help groups, have started similar protests.
Sarwat hopes that his video contributes to this emerging campaign, and leads the government to take measures against one of the most serious social evils in today India.