Most young people in India’s national capital who drink alcohol are under-age: Survey

  • While the legal drinking age in Delhi is 25 years, most of the youth in India’s National Capital starts consuming alcohol much before that — even below 18 years of age.
  • Many of the respondents agreed that they consumed alcohol without making their families aware.
  • There are no checks at retailers to assess the age of buyers while supplying them alcohol and no strict punishments imposed on people breaking the laws.
While the legal drinking age in the National Capital Region of Delhi is still 25 years, most young people in India’s national capital start consuming alcohol way before that — including in teenager before reaching adulthood.

A recent survey by the Community Against Drunken Driving (CADD), an NGO working against drunk driving and underage drinking, has shown that over 88% of youth below 25 consumes or purchases alcohol even though it’s illegal.

At 25, the drinking age is admittedly higher than what is allowed in many countries -- drinking age is 21 in the UK for instance and 18 in the UK and Australia, for instance. Drinking age varies in India by state from 21 to 25.

But according to the survey, there was nearly 23% (2,310) incidence of youth consuming alcohol even before they reached 18. In fact, many of them consumed alcohol without making their families aware.

The public survey, undertaken in September and December 2018, conducted research outside 50 liquor bars and restaurants on over 10,000 respondents under the age of 25 to evaluate alcohol intake and underage drinking patterns in the capital city among youths.

The conclusions drawn from the survey have revealed that most of the youth involved in drinking, the majority -- 66% -- obtained alcohol from liquor bars, pubs and restaurants.

While nearly 14% reportedly said that they secured it from public events such as food fests.

About 98% of the respondents said they were already aware of the legal drinking age, showing that under-age drinking might be becoming a norm.

What pushes the Delhiites to drink?

One reason for the alcohol consumption is easy access. One can easily procure alcohol from liquor shops, without checks to assess the age of buyers. There is also lax punishment imposed on people breaking the law.

Over 34% of the youth confessed that they were involved in some sort of a fight while drunk. Other than that, nearly half of the surveyed youth agreed to drunk driving and stunt biking under the influence.

A research conducted by CADD at prominent fuel stations in the city last year, found that over 72% people agreed for driving drunk on the city roads.

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In Goa, you can get a beer for 20 used cigarette butts and 10 beer bottle caps