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Will consider lowering drinking age only on demand: Govt

Even as the debate over lowering the existing drinking age from 25 to 21 years rages on, Delhi government on Friday said it may contemplate <g data-gr-id="34">to do</g> so if there is a demand from people, restaurant owners and tourism industry.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said he personally feels that whether to consume alcohol or not is a very personal issue.

“The BJP leaders who are commenting on it should look at their party-ruled states and then give a statement. No such proposal is being considered by the government yet. “If there is a demand from Delhi’s people including youths, restaurant owners and tourism industry, government can contemplate on it... this is no issue where we can say that 25 years should be the age strictly (for drinking),” he said.

During a programme with restaurant owners, Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra had on Thursday said <g data-gr-id="33">minimum</g> legal age of drinking in the city should be reduced from 25 to 21 years.

Sisodia, however, said there is currently no government proposal for reducing legal drinking age.
He added: “Keeping in mind children’s health, there is government’s policy in place. But whether on not he/she will drink at 21 years or 24 years of age that part of their life should not be interfered by the government,” he said.

The Deputy CM said the government should make people aware by imparting education to them and after that they should be able to lead their lives freely.

In June this year, Excise Department had prepared a proposal to reduce legal drinking age from the existing 25 to 21 years but the Delhi Government had then dropped it. Slamming the Delhi government, BJP said that if <g data-gr-id="31">drinking</g> age is reduced, it will create a bad impact on society.

“I don’t know what kind of Delhi they are willing to make, do they want to make it an alcoholic Delhi or what else do they have in mind...If we reduce the drinking age, it will create a bad impact on the society,” Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay said. 

Countering BJP, AAP’s Delhi unit secretary Saurabh Bhardwaj said: “There is no official proposal as of now, but there should be dialogue and debate on the issue.” 
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