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18, 21 or 25: The right age to drink alcohol?

Last updated on: June 2, 2011 17:48 IST

18, 21 or 25: The right age to drink alcohol?

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18-year-olds from Maharashtra, who would want to swig beer, vodka, whisky or rum better rush to neighbouring Goa, or Karnataka, or to distant Kerala or Uttar Pradesh. For the Maharashtra government has just made consumption and purchase of alcohol illegal for those below 25 years. Until now, it was perfectly legal to do that if you were 21 and above.

The saving grace: Wine is exempted because it assumably contains a "very small" quantity of alcohol, and under the new policy you can buy and consume beer in the state if you are 21, up from 18 years before.

For the record, while states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and West Bengal allow their denizens to consume and buy alcohol after they turn 21 Maharashtra will be joining Haryana and Meghalaya in increasing the minimum age limit to 25.

Gujarat and Mizoram, as we all know, has imposed prohibition and so sale and consumption of alcohol is illegal here.

Interestingly, Maharashtra is acting more prudish than Pakistan where non-Muslims can purchase and consume alcohol once they turn 21. With the latest ruling Maharashtra would have surpassed the age limit restrictions list not only in India but throughout the world.

The avowed intention behind this ruling approved by the state cabinet is to strike a balance between revenue collection from sale of alcohol and social justice department's aim of discouraging consumption of alcohol by Maharashtra natives.

While the cabinet itself is divided over the issue, civil society too is strongly debating if the decision is right or wrong. If you want to join in the debate the message board below is all yours.

For those who want to check out for themselves before jumping in the fray, click NEXT to find out how countries all over the world are trying to discourage their citizens, by imposing age restrictions, from purchase and consumption of alcohol.



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The International Center for Alcohol Policies, ICAP, a not-for-profit organisation, in consultation with the drinks industry, government, civil society and public health communities had compiled information (last updated in January 2010) that lists the minimum age limit restrictions -- based on on-premise and off-premise -- imposed by various countries to discourage sale and consumption of alcohol.

According to the World health Organisation "on-premise sale refers to the sale of beverage alcohol for consumption at the site of the sale, generally in pubs, bars, cafes, or restaurants".

And off-premise sale "refers to the sale of beverage alcohol for consumption elsewhere (not on the site of sale). Off-premise sales take place, for example, in state monopoly stores, wine shops, supermarkets, and petrol stations or kiosks, depending on local regulations. (World Health Organization, 2004, Global Status Report on Alcohol Policy, p. 15)".

The ICAP compilation of minimu age limits worldwide for legal consumption of alcohol:



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18, 21 or 25: The right age to drink alcohol?

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18, 21 or 25: The right age to drink alcohol?

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18, 21 or 25: The right age to drink alcohol?

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18, 21 or 25: The right age to drink alcohol?

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18, 21 or 25: The right age to drink alcohol?

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