Liberals Claim that New Drinking Rules in Goa will Hurt Tourism. This Analysis Presents an Entirely Different Picture

Goa Public Drinking

Manohar Parrikar has recently announced that the State of Goa will outlaw drinking in public.

What this means is that that it will no longer be possible to consume alcohol in the open – be it in the streets or beaches, footpaths or in any other public space for that matter.[1] However consumption of alcohol within liquor shops, shacks, pubs and bars will continue to exist, as will alcohol consumption in private spaces such as homes or hotel rooms. It is important to understand that this prohibition is not on alcohol consumption itself but on alcohol consumption in public. Alcohol consumption rates are not going to be affected as the supply will remain the same. Government will impose fines or cancel licenses of liquor shops that allow people to drink near the shops.

No Wonder, left liberals and even some loony right wingers have started claiming that the government is dictating a certain lifestyle, and is pushing a diktat down people’s throats. They have also claimed that the move has not been planned, which will ultimately only hurt the common man.[2] However liberals are completely wrong, once again. This proposal is a very positive and thoughtful one that will bring many benefits to state and its people.

Goa is currently witnessing a significant hike in crime.[3] Manohar Parrikar has assured people that the situation will be controlled and banning the open consumption of alcohol is a part of the solution that is already in play. Banning the open consumption of alcohol will result in order and lawfulness, which will in return reduce crime, thanks to the Broken Windows Theory. It seems BJP has been inadvertently or perhaps with cheer genius quietly adopting the Broken Windows theory across India.  As per the Broken Windows theory, when the state focuses on preventing small crimes such as vandalism, public drinking, eve-teasing, an atmosphere of order and lawfulness is created which drastically reduces crimes from happening.[4] This is because the theory believes that disorder causes crime, and crime causes further disorder and crime. The solution is simple. Stop the disorder which in return stops the crime. This theory has also been tested successfully in the great American city of New York. In 1994 when William Bratton became Police Commissioner of the New York Police Department, he heavily adopted the theory and cracked down on panhandling, disorderly behaviour, public drinking, street prostitution. When Bratton resigned in 1996, the statistics were amazing.  Felonies were down almost 40 percent and the homicide rate had also been halved.

Uttar Pradesh under the rule of Yogi Adityanath has also adopted a similar stand with the police crackdowns disorders like eve-teasers, open alcohol consumption, and vandalism. So far UP is in the early stages but is indeed showing progress on developing law and order demonstrated by the high number of arrests and the confiscation of illegal lands worth several crores.[5]  Back in Goa, this latest move to ban open consumption of alcohol is not the first of such moves in line with this theory. Manohar Parrikar has repeatedly instructed the police to remove encroachments (including the make-shift stalls) along the highways, stop late night rave parties among others.[6] Stopping all these disorders will in return stop crime and the crime statistics will drastically drop in the small state of Goa. Banning the open consumption of alcohol alongside banning other disorders to lower crime gives the idea that this is indeed a well thought out plan.

Besides combating crime this move will also help advance the “Swach Bharat Abhiyan” and make Goa a cleaner state. Despite the efforts of the government, some people still continue to litter. Often when people are having a good time, or when people are inebriated in Public places, they often tend to forget about their moral responsibility of a “clean India”. Bottles will be inadvertently smashed and tossed aside. Shattered/littered bottles do not only make Goa dirty but also make it unsafe for Humans and Animals especially beach side where many tourists often travel bare feet or in slippers. Goa is already one of India’s most popular destination for tourists. If the state has cleaner beaches and cities along with lower crime, more people will flock to the state from not only India but across the world. More visitors to the state will in return continue to help the state prosper economically and make life better for the people of Goa.

Even with the benefits discussed before, another point likely to be brought up is tourism. Some people will argue that this will deter tourists from coming to Goa. However, this is not a valid point because countries like the US (Majority of states) and Canada also have a prohibition on drinking alcohol in public. Even with this ban, they do not see any decline or deterrence in tourism. This law is to promote responsible drinking, while cracking down on crime and making the society a better place.