Bengaluru: The Karnataka government has withdrawn its proposal to lower the minimum age for drinking in the state following “objections raised by public, associations, and media”, the government said in a statement.
The development comes after the proposal had been submitted for lowering the legal age for consumption of alcohol from the current 21 years to 18 years.
The proposal was placed into the public domain to elicit opinions for a period of 30 days. After encountering growing opposition from people across the state, the Basavaraj Bommai government immediately withdrew the said proposal.
Lowering the age was recommended by a high-level committee set up under retired bureaucrat V Yashwanth to identify and eliminate “redundant aspects” in the excise law and rules.
The current Bommai Government has given a Rs 29,000 Crore target to the excise department for the Financial Year 2022-23. The department, despite a dip in sales during Christmas and New Year, is expected to hit the Rs 30,000 Crore mark by the end of March 23.
The committee had made such a proposal in order to remove the confusion between the factors specified in relation to age in section 36 (1) (g), (which limits the legal age to 18 years) of the Karnataka Excise Act, 1965 and rule 10 (1) (e) (which has a higher limit of legal age of 21 years) of the Karnataka Excise (General Clauses of Charters) Rules, 1967, the Karnataka Excise Act/Rules.
For effective implementation, to review various performances of the Excise Department and Karnataka Excise Act 1965 and on the recommendation of the High-Level Committee constituted to eliminate redundant elements in the rules framed thereunder, to remove confusion, amended rule 10 (1) (e) of the Karnataka Excise (General Clauses of Charters) Rules, 1967 by substituting “eighteen years” for the words “twenty-one years”. Draft Notification- I – FD 9 PES 2022 dated: January 9, 2023, has been issued to substitute the words “years”.
A period of 30 days has been given to those affected to consider objections/suggestions on the said draft rules.
Considering the objections raised by the public, associations, and the media to the proposed amendment to Rule 10 (1) (e) of the Karnataka Excise (General Clauses of Charters) Rules, 1967, as per the above notification, the Karnataka Excise (General Clauses of Charters) Rules, The Commissioner of Excise said in a notification that the draft amendment rule was withdrawn with immediate effect.