Alcohol consumption in Odisha ‘high’, up 371% between 2001-02 & 2018-19!

The total liquor sales (IMFL, Beer & Country Spirit) in 2018-19 touched a new high of around 1,492 lakh litres vis-à-vis mere around 250 lakh litres in 2000-01

Bhubaneswar: Odisha has got the kick. The State has seemingly gone the binge way as the per capita annual alcohol consumption here has zoomed up by a whopping around 371 per cent in over a decade-and-a-half.

The per capita consumption of liquor that was 700ml in 2001-02 has tanked up to 3.3 litres in 2018-19, reveals an analysis of the alcohol lift-off data available with the State Excise Department.

The total liquor sales (IMFL, Beer & Country Spirit) in 2018-19 touched a new high of around 1,492 lakh litres vis-à-vis mere around 250 lakh litres in 2000-01.

As per the data available with State Excise Department, the total lift off of IMFL (India made Foreign Liquor) in 2018-19 had been 528.92 lakh litres, whereas beer and country spirit lift offs were at 867.53 lakh litres and 95.56 lakh litres, respectively.

The trend analysis shows that even as beer per capita consumption is highest in Odisha, the consumption of IMFL in Odisha is catching up fast.

While the per capita beer consumption in 2018-19 was 1.9 litres vis-a-vis 1.5 litres in 2009-10, IMFL per capita consumption tanked up to touch 1.17 litres in 2018-19 from a measly 640 ml in 2009-10.

The upsurge in alcohol consumption has given a kick to State government coffers. The revenues (excise + sales tax) clocked a high of 529 per cent in last decade (2009-10 to 2018-19).

As per latest data available, the total sale turnover of alcohol in October 2019 stood at a massive Rs 406 crore. And when IMFL sale turnover stood at Rs 312 cr, beer and country spirit turnover stood at Rs 74 crore and Rs 20 crore, respectively.

Though the Excise Department has no detailed data to show the rural-urban divide, a recent National Sample Survey study on non-food items consumption in the State indicates that urban Odisha drowns more in drinking than their counterparts in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.

An analysis of the binge pattern district-wise shows the consumption trend is not uniform across the State. 

As per NSS data, the ‘high in spirits’ districts are Mayurbhanj and the neighbouring districts, whereas coastal and southern Odisha finish as top beer/wine guzzlers in State.

However, an analysis of Excise department data reveals very interesting trends.

While State Headquarters Khurda topped the beer/wine binge-chart, the new ‘spirited-up’ districts are the impoverished land of Kalahandi and Balangir. Industrial districts like Sundergarh, Jharsugada and Angul figure ‘high’ in the ‘spirited’ list in State. Among coastal districts, Ganjam seems giving a close chase to Khurda. 

The bottom line: The ‘spirited’ surge could well be attributed to presence of around 3,745 sale-outlets across the districts of the State. Contrarily, Odisha has mere 1,659 rural hospitals in 2018-19.

Moreover, as the top binge districts in State coincidentally have recorded highest incidence of crime or have a higher rate of crime, the State despite seeing a windfall of Rs 3,925 crore alcohol excise revenue in 2018-19, no new rural hospital or police station has come up in these high-binge districts last year.