What should be the legal age for drinking?

National Policy

As per the World Health Organizationharmful use of alcohol results in approximately 2.5 million deaths per year, and 4% of all deaths worldwide as attributable to alcohol. The alcohol related harm is not limited to heavy drinkers or those suffering from alcohol use disorders but also extends to persons who drink moderately or occasionally as well as to persons who do not drink but become victims of alcohol related accidents or aggression.

To address the impact of alcohol use on society, a national policy on alcohol use is needed. The alcohol policy includes measures by the government to control supply and demand, minimize alcohol-related harm and promote public health. 

At present, India does not have a national alcohol policy. However, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has Alcohol and Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention Policies.


Here is a list of resources to help formulate the national alcohol policy in India:

  • Article 47 of the Constitution of India

-           “The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health”



World Health Organization (2011). Global Status Report: Alcohol Policy. Geneva: Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization

World Health Organization. Report on global health risks, 2009

Lal R. Substance Use Disorders: A Manual for physicians. New Delhi: National Drug Dependence Treatment Center, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, 2005.