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Social activists in India criticise government for wine sales

Social activist Anna Hazare has taken offence with the Indian government’s decision to allow wine sale in supermarkets in Maharashtra.

Following the cabinet’s decision to allow the sale of wine in supermarkets and walk-in stores, Hazare highlighted that, as per Indian Constitution, it is actually the responsibility of the Indian government to discourage its citizens from alcohol consumption via awareness initiatives.

Hazare, who is known for running ‘daaru bandi’ (liquor ban) campaigns in the state, told the Indian Express, that the government has wilfully ignored its responsibility and, instead, “has set for itself a target of selling 1,000 crore litres of wine in a year” – a move that is in direct conflict with its governance

Until now, only registered wine stores were allowed to sell wine in the region, however with the new ruling, the sale of wine is permitted at any local stores with a minimum area of 100 square metres.

The decision continues to draw criticism from opposition party leaders, however deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar claimed that “there was a huge difference between wine and liquor” and differentiated the move by comparing bottles of wine with bottles of spirits

The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra’s update on the situation comes a week after neighbouring Madhya Pradesh reportedly permitted liquor sales at all its airports, a selection of supermarkets in four major cities and also allowed issuing home bar licences to those earning Rs 1 crore or more annually.

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