Thiruvananthapuram, December 7: You need to be 23 now to buy liquor in Kerala! Kerala government is in plans to raise the minimum age for consuming liquor from 21 to 23. Required amendment will be brought to the existing liquor policy and recommendation will be sent to the governor to promulgate an ordinance in this regard.
Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan said banning liquor had not been fruitful anywhere in the world and the government would give priority to moderation rather than a blanket ban. He said people who want to get the kick will go to any extent to get it. Liquor ban can lead to the illegal use of narcotic substances.
“However, the government does not encourage drinking and will take necessary steps to cut down the use of liquor. Raising the minimum age is aimed at curtailing drinking among youngsters,” he said, adding that all liquor outlets to maintain a strict vigil on those violating rules.
The cabinet has also given nod for the provision that those who sell liquor to under-age consumers should be punished. The Kerala Abkari Act and foreign liquor rule need to be amended to raise the age limit as proposed. The government will present a special bill for this during the next assembly session.
Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Sikkim, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are among the largest consumers of alcohol in India. Kerala's own tax revenue for a year has been estimated at Rs 40,000 Crore and 25% of this is coming from liquor sales.