Rationalising restrictions


I was travelling by train from Vasco last week and witnessed what certainly cannot be categorised as an “isolated incident.”
The railway police while checking the luggage of passengers in our compartment found two bottles of liquor in a fellow passenger’s bag.
The scene went into its usual routine with the cops quoting the law and the dire consequences of breaking it. The infringement was finally settled for 200 bucks.
This set me thinking.
I reflected on the many such restrictions that are almost impractical to enforce effectively and in many cases are only adding to the scope and opportunity for bribes to be given and taken.
There is a significant cost difference in the price of liquor being sold within this State and outside. A certificate issued by shops ostensibly allows one to take 2 bottles of liquor to some specified destinations. I am not sure of the validity of that piece of paper.
Why not allow someone leaving the state to carry two bottles across the state border, just the way someone can buy two bottles duty free when returning from an international trip. Why not amend the regulations so that it does not make a major proportion of the tourists leaving the state into lawbreakers, as most people returning after a holiday here invariably carry a couple of bottles of their favourite tipple as it is much cheaper here and you get a much wider variety.
Will this concession make a significant dent in tax revenues? It will certainly not be a figure to cause alarm, considering the mind boggling loss to the exchequer through multi- crore scams and infructuous expenditure on foreign junkets.
Experience worldwide has shown that irrational restrictions remain only on paper as enforcement is either impractical, cumbersome or even perceived as unnecessary.
It only becomes a tool for harassment or extortion.