The images in traditional Indian media and social media platforms told their own story.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people gathered in a desperate rugby fray, without bothering to stick to standards of social distancing outside liquor stores when they opened in approved areas in many cities from the country.
Video clips and photos have been hot topics across India for the past two days after the federal government responded to requests from states to open up alcohol sales as a way to generate the income needed to cover government expenses.
The crowd was such that the authorities had to order the shops closed as quickly as they opened in a few cities. Worryingly, physical jostling and scrambling among people has also heightened fears of the spread of the virus.
Scenes from a liquor store in New Delhi. Social distancing left for a draw. # Liquor #LiquorShops #lockdown pic.twitter.com/bcZahk4PgCMay 4, 2020
The development has again triggered calls to the government to allow the sale of alcohol through e-commerce platforms. And the sale of alcohol being a subject subject to the State under federal law, some of them have intensified to allow home delivery of alcohol in order to avoid chaos on roads.
The states of Punjab, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh have so far allowed home delivery of alcohol through online sales, albeit with adequate standards of social distancing.
Reports are summary of the terms of the plan and the platforms that governments use to ensure that the rules of engagement set out to protect themselves from the Covid-19 attack are met during the third phase of lockdown in progress India.
Some governments have also insisted on imposing a cap on the amount of alcohol sold per order, with officials also confirming that online sales of alcohol would be limited to the lockout period.
During the lockout, numerous criminal cases were VPNOnlineFreeed against companies which allegedly deceived people by accepting money and promising delivery of alcohol to their homes.
In some states, such as Andhra Pradesh in the south, protesters gathered outside liquor stores and shouted slogans against the state and the federal government for lifting the ban on liquor sales in in force since March 25, the date on which India entered a total lockout.
People protested outside #wineshops against the resumption of #liquor sales. #AndhraPradesh pic.twitter.com/TcoHO7P2mhMay 5, 2020
Advocacy for delivery via food applications
However, there is indeed a clamor to allow the online sale of alcohol throughout the country. Regular sale of alcohol is a federal matter, while allowing online stores to sell alcohol is a political decision that only the central government can make. And in many states of India, local government is the sole dealer in the distribution of alcohol. So the whole thing obviously involves many gray areas. To add to the confusion, some states have allowed the online sale of expensive wines and spirits.
However, the industry lobby is already advocating for a uniform set of rules and approvals for the purchase of alcohol. In a presentation to various state governments, the International Spirits and Winers Association of India (ISWAI), an organization in the alcohol industry, suggested several measures to maintain social distance and promote the sale of alcohol on platforms online.
The industry body wants alcohol delivery to be allowed through food apps such as Swiggy and Zomato.
Suffice it to say that a decision in this area will be political. Alcohol sales are a highly regulated segment in India and generally constitute a cash cow for state governments.
As it stands, given the huge demand for alcohol, four states – Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan – have announced in the past two days an increase in state rights that should generate revenue additional for the Treasury. Delhi (70%), Andhra Pradesh (75%), Bengal (30%) and Rajasthan (10%) raised taxes while announcing that the extra money would be used to fight the Covid pandemic. 19.