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Report No. 158

1.3.5. Magnitude of use of alcohol and all-pervasive control of State Governments prior to the commencement of the Constitution of India.-

There are several industries located all over the country manufacturing alcohol. Alcohol is also known by the name 'rectified spirit'. Alcohol has manifold uses. It is used for obtaining alcohol - all that one has to do is to add water to reduce its power. It is used for manufacture of Indian-made foreign liquors like whisky, brandy, rum, gin, etc. Alcohol is also used in several other industries. Until a few decades ago and even today in certain States like Uttar Pradesh, alcohol is used mainly for the purpose of obtaining country liquor therefrom and for manufacture of Indian-made foreign liquors, which together may be referred to hereinafter as 'intoxicating liquors' or as 'alcoholic liquors for human consumption'.

Almost every State in the country has an Excise Law in force - some of them enacted prior to the commencement of the Constitution - governing the manufacture, distribution, sale and possession of liquor. The definition of 'liquor' in these enactments made no distinction between liquor used for human consumption and liquor used for other purposes. These Acts purported to regulate all liquors. The Excise Duty on the manufacture of liquors was collected by the State Governments which also closely regulated and controlled the manufacture, possession, sale and transportation of these liquors. As a fact - and speaking generally - the Union Government had no say in the matter.

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