Alcohol and tobacco consumption cannot be wiped out of the social scene of mankind. For, such substances remain implanted in the very embryo of development, urbanisation and growth of civil society. Yet, the Planning Commission can zero in on such an inference and decide to place taxes on their usage, so as to collect revenue benefitting public health services. Though moderately justified, can it instil enough confidence in us and do away with these social evils by sprouting the seeds of an idealistic edifice?
The move can be a failure to a great extent. Blatantly, it will cause a mere disruption of the distribution of income between the haves and the have nots. A rise in price cannot discourage the wealthy from stopping consumption. Under normal circumstances, they usually resort to polished imported products that lighten their wallets significantly. However, the outcome is purely nonchalant since they are already drowned in impeccable mannerisms and fine-bred sophistication. Additional payments for this purpose cannot dig very large holes in this part of their disposable income.
As far as the others are concerned, they can easily resort to other intoxicated items. So, the very purpose of breeding a healthier nation through a price rise of such substances is not well served. Another argument in favour of non-implementation is that health problems are not entirely credited to cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption. Fast food consumption, lack of physical activity, stiff working schedules and the burgeoning tensions associated with a rapidly degenerating moral fabric are other potential hazards that are clouding the path of development.
The wisest item to be inculcated in the agenda is fair usage of the tax revenue collected. A robust and transparent taxing system will leave behind enough funds so as to cater to all sectors, whether education, health or governance. Let us first try and restrict sinning at the topmost level. We hugely need something to look up to.