The evidence of consumption of ‘Soma or Sura’ (alcohol/liquor) was documented in Indian religious, mythological and ayurvedic scriptures depicting that the alcohol beverages are there from the Indus Valley of Civilization. In many countries including India alcohol was used as medicine, for pleasure, a ritual.
Alcohol is considered or classified as a substance which depresses vital neurological functions resulting in uncontrolled speech and body movements and also affects one’s ability to make logical decisions. The amount of alcohol determines the effects such as when consumed moderately it acts as medicine and it will have adverse effects when consumed off limit (Foundation for a Drug- Free World).
Globalization, increased per capita income, changing demographics have changed the attitude towards alcohol consumption. India is recently being referred to as ‘Young Bharat’, considering a large portion of its population is in their young age. A sample survey conducted by Ahmad (2021) in Jaipur, Rajasthan shows that a large portion ( 72.55%) of respondents between the age of 14 to 17 have a positive attitude towards alcohol consumption clearly is an alarming state indicating the risk and vulnerable effects of alcohol. Alcohol consumption is considered a public health problem as it affects micro (family) and macro level (society) at large. Alcohol abuse such as sexual violence, pschycological disorders, increased crime rate, accidental deaths and causes socio -economic problems.
Article 47 of the Constitution of India, Directive Principle states that the prohibition and control of alcohol is state policy. State government controls the chain from production to sale of the alcohol. The Federal Government controls and regulates the consumption of alcohol by executing new central policies and imposing taxes. In India, policies related to regularizing the production and consmption are in a flux as the Constitution has given power to the state government which is very unstable and changing (Poduthase and Vellapally, 2016). Most of the state governments consider alcohol as a revenue generation commodity and different policies aim at addressing the alcohol policies differently. There is a need for a strict comprehensive alcohol policy at the national level to regularize and direct state governments. The state government should implement and adhere to a strict ban on direct or indirect advertising or marketing of alcohol and its products, imposing heavy excise duty and the amount collected can be utilized in rehabilitation of the habitual users, by strict restriction of alcohol sale from the licensed outlets within a specified time and increasing the legal age of drinking (Marara et. al. 2016).
In India, alcohol consumption is totally banned in four states and Union territory of Lakshadweep by declaring them as dry states. In other states, the minimum age of alcohol consumption varies from 18 to 25 (Reshi, 2020).
India faces challenges to implement the alcohol policies because of its size of the population, conflicts between Central and State governments to regularize and implement the policies and lack of central nodal agencies to monitor, direct and regularly implement the policies.
- Ahmad, S. (2022). Attitude Toward Alcohol Consumption among Indian Male Adolescents. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly. Vol. 40 Issue . 131-136 available at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07347324.2021.1981182?scroll=top&needAccess=true (Accessed on 16th July 2022)
- Foundation of Drug-Free World. What is Alcohol? Aavailable at https://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/alcohol.html (16 July 2022)
- Marara, P., Rath, S., Sharma, S., Bosman, S. J and Srinivas, S. (2016) Curtailing Unhealthy Consumption of Alcohol for Sustainable Development in India and South Africa. Indian Journal of Pharmacy Practice, Vol 9, Issue 2, Apr-Jun, 77-85 available at https://ijopp.org/sites/default/files/10.5530ijopp.9.2.4.pdf (16th July 2022)
- Poduthase, H. and Vellapally, A. J. (2016) Alcohol Policies in India and United States: A Comparative Policy Analysis. International Journal of Education, Culture and Society 66-69 available at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Henry-Poduthase/publication/313236380_Alcohol_Policies_in_India_and_United_States_A_Comparative_Policy_Analysis/links/589340ceaca27231daf5f5bc/Alcohol-Policies-in-India-and-United-States-A-Comparative-Policy-Analysis.pdf (16 July 2022).
Reshi, M. (2020) Alcohol Legislation in India: A Critical Analysis of Laws, Regulations and Future Perspective available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342702712_ALCOHOL_LEGALISATION_IN_INDIA_A_CRITICAL_ANALYSIS_OF_LAWS_REGULATIONS_AND_FUTURE_PERSPECTIVES (16th July 2022)