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“Legal drinking age” ; State announces the minimum age for consumption of liquor as “21”

The government declared that the legal drinking age in the national capital Delhi has been lessened from 25 to 21. The least age for the consumption of alcohol in Delhi was reduced after the Delhi Cabinet passed a new Excise Policy.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in a press gathering, declared the reforms to the Excise Policy. Aside from variations in the minimum drinking age, another significant statement given by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was that the Delhi government will not operate liquor shops in the city and that no fresh liquor stores will be opened in the national capital.”Running liquor shops is not the responsibility of the government,” Manish Sisodia said that unlicensed liquor shops in the national capital will also be closed.

“The new excise policy was approved by the Cabinet today on basis of the recommendations of the Group of Ministers. It was decided that no new liquor shops will be opened in the national capital and the government will not run any liquor shops. At present, 60 percent of liquor shops in Delhi are run by the government,” Sisodia said. Declaring a set of new laws for liquor stores, the deputy chief minister said liquor shops must have a space of 500 square feet and continued that the windows in such shops should not be overlooking the road. Manish Sisodia said that proposals have been presented to abolish the license recommendation system for the hospitality and eatery sector.

He emphasized that strict measures will be taken to ensure there is no tax evasion, continuing that the new Excise Policy is anticipated to boost revenue by 20 percent.”The government will ensure equitable distribution of liquor shops so that liquor mafia are thrown out of the trade. Revenue growth of 20 percent is estimated after the reforms in excise department,” Manish Sisodia said.

A Delhi government panel had in December last year proposed that restaurants and clubs in Delhi be permitted to serve alcohol till 3 am. This was among various other proposals as part of excise reformations. The panel, established up by Manish Sisodia, had also advised reducing the legal drinking age to 21 from 25 in Delhi.
The committee had also suggested that retail liquor licenses other than to government organizations be distributed through a lottery system once every two years, a move to permit flexibleness in-laws for fresh private liquor shops in the city.

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The BJP had objected to the Delhi government’s recommendations stating that such an excise policy of Kejriwal government will “not only increase incidents of violence and accidents relating to road rage, but the tendency of people to drink alcohol will also increase, which can lead to many families to the brink of destruction”.


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