Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Monday announced that the drinking age in Delhi will be lowered to 21 and the system of “age-gating” will be introduced in the city wherein persons below 21 will not be allowed to enter any restaurant, pub or club that serves liquor by themselves. The change in rules is part of the new proposed Delhi excise policy which Sisodia said is aimed at improving excise revenue and liquor-buying experience by equitably distributing liquor vends and making good quality liquor available in the market.
Addressing a press conference, Sisodia said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal approved the recommendations of the group of ministers on Monday. A proper policy document will now be drafted and then notified. He said the entire process would take about three months, upon which the new rules will be implemented.
“Delhi is going to make the legal drinking age at par with its neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh. The legal age to purchase and consume liquor in the Capital is going to be 21. We will also introduce the age-gating system wherein those below 21 are not allowed entry to any liquor serving outlet alone. They will be allowed entry if they are accompanied by their parents or others who are 21 years and above,” Sisodia, who is also the excise minister of the city, said.
The current drinking age in Delhi is 25.
The deputy chief minister also said that the policy aims to put an end to the liquor mafia which he claimed is thriving because of the inequitable distribution of liquor vends in the city. He said no new liquor shops will be opened in the city and that the existing ones will be relocated. He added that with these reforms the government expects a growth of about 20% from excise as compared to the current annual growth of 5%.