22 Mar 2021: Delhi lowers legal drinking age from 25 to 21
The legal drinking age in Delhi has been lowered from 25 to 21, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced on Monday.
Delhi's liquor policy is being updated to remove all factors contributing to the liquor mafia, Sisodia announced.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi Cabinet had reviewed the recommendations of an expert committee to improve liquor trading experience in Delhi, he said.
Age: Legal drinking age in Delhi should be same as Noida
Addressing a press conference, Sisodia said, "The Group of Ministers has recommended that the legal drinking age in Delhi should be the same as that in Noida, Uttar Pradesh." The legal drinking age in the neighboring UP is 21.
People under the legal drinking age, if they are entering bars or restaurants alone, will not be permitted to enter the premises, Sisodia announced.
Details: Delhi's liquor should match international standards: Sisodia
"Liquor sold in Delhi should comply with international standards," the Deputy CM said. "The government will create its own system to check liquor quality."
Addressing complaints about a complicated system of obtaining liquor licenses, Sisodia said that several permissions and licenses either have been merged or they will be done away with for the ease of doing business for the restaurant and hospitality sector.
Shops: '58% of Delhi unserved or underserved'
Sisodia highlighted that the inequitable distribution of liquor stores contribute to illegal trade.
"58% of Delhi is either unserved or underserved," he said, adding that 20% of the national capital is over-served.
He said that 79 out of 272 wards in Delhi have no liquor shops, while 45 wards have one shop.
50% of nearly 850 shops are located in 45 wards, he added.
New measures: No new liquor stores will be opened in Delhi
Although the government wants to ensure equitable distribution, no new liquor stores will be opened in the national capital, Sisodia announced. No new shops have been opened since 2016.
There will be no government liquor stores in Delhi and only private shops will operate.
Every liquor store must cover an area of at least 500sqft. No counters at stores will open toward the road.
Fact: 'Store owners' responsibility to ensure law and order, cleanliness'
"It will be the store owners' responsibility to ensure law and order and cleanliness near the stores. There should not be an environment allowing the open consumption of liquor," Sisodia said, suggesting the use of CCTVs and security guards.
Crimes: 7.09 lakh illegal bottles seized in past 2 years: Sisodia
"In the past two years, 7.09 lakh illegal liquor bottles were seized," Sisodia said.
The Deputy CM also said that 1,864 FIRs were registered against the liquor mafia during the period, 1,939 people were arrested, and 1,014 vehicles were seized.
"This is only the tip of the iceberg," he said.
Roughly 2,000 illegal shops are currently operating in Delhi, he added.