New Delhi: Closing ranks with leaders opposing pub culture in the aftermath of the Mangalore incident, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss on Friday said it was against Indian ethos and asserted that the proposed National Alcohol Policy would help curb it.
“We definitely condemn the incident where women were attacked, but the pub culture must stop. It is because of this that youth in the country have taken to drinking in a big way,” Ramadoss said.
Linking youngsters visiting pubs to increased rates of accidents due to drunken driving, he said, “in India, 40% of road accidents are alcohol-related”.
These young people not only jeopardise their lives but are also a danger to others on the roads.
“It is not our culture. If it goes this way I don’t think India will progress,” Ramadoss said adding, most of the people losing their lives due to such road accidents and alcoholism were in their early twenties, which are the most productive years.
Unfortunately over the recent years, there has been a huge percentage of people taking to alcohol.
There is also a study which says that in the last five to six years there is an increase of 60% among the youth who have taken to drinking, he said.
The minister, who was briefing the media after a meeting of the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare, said the alcohol policy would be brought in within the next 3-6 months.
“Though we have not envisaged the details of the policy, it would entail a time limit for the opening of alcohol shops, fixing the number of days on which they would be open and being more strict with the age of drinking,” he said.
Asked whether the National Alcohol Policy would help curb pub culture, he said “we are directing it at youngsters who visit pubs”.
A lot of awareness campaigns have to be launched and people have to be educated about the perils of alcoholism, he added.