Imagine you're a 23-year-old who is attending a concert in Mumbai. You get together with your friends and reach the box office. That is where you find out that you need to get an LDA band so that you can buy alcohol inside the venue. You get your ID card out and present it to the guy at the counter and that's when he tells you that you need to be at least 25 to get a band. That's when you tell him that the legal drinking age for beer is 21 so you can at least have a beer. But he tells you that they can only issue LDA to people above 25 as per their permit.
For a person who is in his early 20's drinking outside can be quite tricky in India. While clubs let you in and serve you booze if you are 21, a lot of venues especially concerts don't let you drink unless you are 25.
That is because we don't have a uniform drinking age in India.
In Maharashtra, the Legal drinking age is split where you can consume Beer at the age of 21 and hard liquor at the age of 25. But in states like Goa and Sikkim, a person can have any sort of alcohol once he or she is 18.
The main reason for this is that deciding the legal drinking age in India is not a centralised process. The Constitution of India under Article 47 has empowered each state to bring out the prohibition of the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs. Which is why each state has enacted different laws for liquor consumption and purchase. While some states have completely banned it, some have enforced prohibition up to a certain age.
In most states, if you're an adult, you are eligible to buy liquor. However, to be able to consume the same, the permitted age varies from 18 to 25 years depending on the state. So why is there such a 'Bhed-Bhav' in states?
That is because each state has to monitor alcohol sales and consumption for various reasons. Alcohol is one of the highest-taxed commodity in India and it is easier to keep track of liquor if each state keeps a track for itself. A state government also has to look out for the well being of its people and if they feel that alcohol is going to be a problem for the future of the state, they have the right to prohibit it or even completely ban it.
And honestly, we think that it is best if each state gets to take a call on who gets to drink and who doesn't. India is a really diverse country and its completely okay for the state governments to decide if the people of their state can handle alcohol.
So instead of ranting over the unfair LDA rules, maybe its best to drink where you can and be happy about not having a complete ban in your state!
In case you need it, here is a link to find out the legal drinking age in your state.