The Maharashtra state government will not withdraw the law that raises the age of consuming alcohol. According to it, the age for drinking beer was increased from 18 to 21 and for consuming hard liquor from 21 to 25. “The argument that 18 is the age when people are allowed to vote and so they should be allowed to drink too is not justified. Maturity comes at 25 when an individual can take informed decisions. There is no reason to withdraw the decision,” said Shivajirao Moghe, minister of social justice, on Thursday.
Moghe stressed that no religion encourages the consumption of alcohol. He also said that banning it altogether could not be a solution to curb alcohol consumption. “In places such as Wardha, the consumption of alcohol is banned. But it has not helped. Instead it has given rise to black-marketing, which is worse,” he said.
The social justice department in celebrating the de-addiction day on June 26 and Moghe announced the launch of a special de-addiction project at Pune on that day. “The idea is to collect data on the number of people, who have been cured of addiction and been rehabilitated, get them to train with corporates and get jobs. At the same time, we will ask these cured individuals to counsel those who need therapy,” he said.
Moghe had recently said that the government might consider scrapping the permit system since the vigilance has been a huge failure. “We agree that we have not been able to keep a check on permits. But the work of spreading awareness rests with the society and NGOs. We are trying to get 1% of the money, about Rs 4,000 crore, that we get through liquor sales in raising awareness,” Moghe said.