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The Beef Ban: An Irrational Decision with Economic Implications?

There are several questions that remain unanswered about the motives of this ban. In this article, Hrideja Shah aims at bringing out the economic implications of this law.

al3The 20 year old bill, Maharashtra Anila Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995 was finally signed and approved by the President. The bill prohibits slaughter of oxen and bulls including the possession and sale of beef. It also banned the import and export of beef. Violation of this law would result in five years in jail and a fine upto Rs. 10,000.  The first question that would be raised is why this ban when there are several measures that need to be taken for other issues.

Is this ban truly holding a religious belief? Does religion play a major role before economy? Is the government really just following a belief and ignoring the economic disadvantages of banning beef?  Besides the religious debates, economic implications play a major role since beef is banned.

The new law is all set to affect the beef trade on which more than 1.5 crore people of Maharashtra depend. The agricultural and related business is a competitive, consumer driven, global and rapidly changing industry. The president of Mumbai beef association stated that Mumbai has 900 licensed beef stalls and an equal amount of unlicensed beef stalls.  Thousands others are in the transport business. The economy is surely to be affected through this ban.

In my opinion, the beef ban law has major flaws which will affect not only the economy but will leave an impact on religious as well as social freedoms. The beef traders association of Maharashtra are looking for a legal recourse against this ban on beef. The enforcement of bill led to a major cut down in the beef business since only an inferior quality of beef of water buffaloes will be allowed for sale.

According to several news report, the BJP claims to set this ban on the basis of their parent organization’s value system i.e. the RSS. The question then remains is that is it okay to impose one’s value system on others by banning something? The state needs to take the low middle income group people into account when pursuing extreme policy measures which have a universal impact. Most importantly, shouldn’t the religious ideologies be separate from the state?  The ban not only forces people to opt for other sources of meat but also affects the overall economy of state due to various reasons stated above. There is a serious doubt on the vision and pragmatic belief of the government in power if reasonable business and socio-economic considerations are overlooked by the government by passing this bill.

Hrideja Shah is a student at Jindal Global Law School, Haryana

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