After she turned 21 on May 7, for three weeks, Nicole D’lima downed her rum and cokes with legal gusto.
But that’s over now, with the state government raising the minimum age for drinking beer from 18 to 21 years and for other liquor to 25 years, from 21.
“I am mature enough to handle my drink and have been a regular in the party circuit from the time I turned an adult,” said D’lima, who believes the government should have passed a stricter resolution against drink driving instead.
For Hiral Shah, 20, a mass media student, who started pub hopping at the age of 16, the new decision is unlikely to affect her party plans.
“It all boils down to personality and confidence. Actual age does not make any difference while entering the pub and drinking,” said Shah.
“When I can vote at 18 and choose my husband at 21, why should I be made to wait till 25 to sip my first drink?”However, older Mumbaiites don’t think raising the drinking age is such a bad move.
“It’s a good move because 18 is too tender an age for children to consume liquor. Besides, at times when people start drinking early, they get too accustomed to it and find it difficult to give up,” said Anandani Thakoor, activist and chairperson of the H-west Ward Citizen Federation.
“Moreover, 18 to 25 is a crucial period for forming a career, so it’s absolutely right to put restrictions on youngsters during this crucial phase in life.”
GR Vora, a member of the F-North Ward Citizen Federation, agrees.
“The decision is welcome. The state should also raise the octroi and other taxes levied on import and manufacture of liquor to deter consumers,” he said.
“Considering the increasing number of drunken driving cases and the youngsters involved in it, this decision is well-timed. Even if 18 years is the acknowledged age to be an adult, that’s not when youngsters are mature or gain social experience,” said Kishore Jagtiani, volunteer of India Against Corruption.
“Raising the drinking age will impose restrictions which is the need of the hour,” Jagtiani added.