‘Govt yet to take note of booze intake doubling in India’

| | New Delhi
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‘Govt yet to take note of booze intake doubling in India’

Friday, 10 February 2023 | PNS | New Delhi

Even as average per capita consumption of alcohol has more than doubled from 2.4 litres to 5.7 litres between 2005 to 2016 in country, the Government is yet to wake up from its slumber to take note of this growing menace and take measures to regulate its intake at an individual level.

A report  ‘Policy measures to reduce per capita consumption of alcohol in India’ released on Thursday flags the menace as it enlists several recommendations including policy measures aimed at disincentivizing consumption of high alcoholic beverages; and, creating consumer awareness to regulate intake at an individual level.

It is a known fact that excess of consumption of alcohol is not good for health and there is a need to regulate its consumption by creating awareness among people about its ill-impact, Ashim Sanyal, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer VOICE told reporters at a press conference held here to share details of the report prepared in collaboration with Gateway Consultancy.

It comes days after WHO warned that there is no ‘safe limit’ to alcohol consumption, and even a small amount may increase the risk of cancer and other NCDs.  “Between 2005 and 2016, India’s per capita consumption of pure alcohol almost doubled from 2.4 liters to 5.7 liters.

Most of this consumption was from beverages with high alcohol-by-volume content or hard liquor such as whiskey, vodka, rum, gin, IMFLs and country liquor.

Sharing more details of study Sanyal said, “With alcohol consumption in India seeing its highest growth in 15-30 age group, we are concerned about excess per capita consumption of alcohol and its consequences.           



India does not have a central level policy to reduce consumption and is among the few countries which does not have guidelines on safe consumption.”

Tushar Gandhi, Chief Executive Officer of Gateway Consulting added: “The report highlights the increasing per capita consumption of pure alcohol in India and highlights that high alcoholic beverages are most cheaply available and are consumed most. But, on the other hand, globally consumers are moving towards low alcoholic beverages.

Drinking patterns indicate that people drink to ‘get intoxicated’ and engage in excessive and binge drinking, added Hemant Uapadhyay, from Voluntary Organisation in Interest of Consumer Education.

Heavy Episodic Drinking, which is defined as consumption of 60 grams or more of pure alcohol on at least one occasion in the last 30 days, declined in a total of 164 countries and remained unchanged in nine countries. However, India is amongst the few countries across the world where heavy episodic drinking has increased, he added.

With this background, it is imperative that the government considers broader social aspects to include higher healthcare and social care costs while making alcohol policies. The report aims to trigger a debate and engage stakeholders with an objective to moderate alcohol consumption through policy measures and awareness campaigns.

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