The Delhi government Monday approved a new excise policy, lowering the minimum age for consumption of alcohol to 21 years. Earlier, the legal age of drinking in New Delhi was 25.
With the move, the national capital joins the majority of Indian states in having 21 as the legal drinking age. While in some states, the age limit is as low as 18, a few have it at the upper limit of 25. In some states, the consumption of alcohol is forbidden.
Apart from New Delhi, the other states and Union Territories where the minimum age for consumption of alcohol is 25 are Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, and Maharashtra (light beer allowed at age 21).
In Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar, Puducherry, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh and Mizoram (where prohibition was lifted in 2015), the legal age of drinking is 18 years.
In Kerala, the legal age of drinking is 23 years, raised from 21 in December 2017.
The states and Union Territories where the consumption of alcohol is forbidden are Bihar, Gujarat, Manipur, Nagaland and Lakshadweep.
In most other states, the legal age of drinking is 21.
The lowering of the drinking age in New Delhi is part of the process of drafting a new policy for the sale of liquor in the city. Delhi government ministers presented recommendations to the state Cabinet on Monday, which were accepted.
The recommendations include lowering the age of consumption of liquor to 21 from 25; barring the entry of those under the age of 21, and without “supervision”, in places that serve liquor; and shutting all government-run vends and giving them to private players instead.