Government of Delhi state plans to ease its liquor rules

You can vote at 18 and marry at 21, but must wait till 25 to buy alcohol in India's capital. For those who have resented the city's outdated, restrictive liquor policy for decades, there may be news to cheer. The government of Delhi state plans to ease its liquor rules, which date back to 1914 and prohibit even hotels from keeping their bars open after midnight, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported Wednesday.

The state cabinet is expected to clear this week a new policy that would lower the age bar from 25 to 21 years and allow the city's 24 five-star hotels to keep bars open round the clock, the report said. But no change is proposed in rules relating to night clubs that must stop serving alcohol after 11 p.m., it said.

In recent years, the capital city has emerged as a major hub for international tourists and business travelers, who arrive, or depart, after midnight and are often disappointed to find the bars shut, the report quoted a cabinet note as saying.

Also, the government has had to forego potential revenues that could be earned from increased liquor sales, which attract some of the highest tax revenues, it said.

Delhi government officials could not be independently reached for comments. The proposed policy also seeks to allow large department stores to sell wine, beer and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages, the report said. Liquor can currently only be purchased at exclusive shops licensed by the government, reports the AP. I.L.

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