New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi on Monday announced that the legal drinking age in the national capital has been reduced from 25 to 21. Announcing the new excise policy, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that no new liquor shops will be opened in the city-state and the government will not run any vend.

"The new excise policy was approved by the Cabinet today on basis of the recommendations of the Group of Ministers. It was decided that no new liquor shops will be opened in the national capital and the government will not run any liquor shops. At present, 60 per cent liquor shops in Delhi are run by the government," he said at a press conference, as reported by news agency PTI.

Announcing a slew of changes in the Excise Policy of Delhi, Sisodia said that some areas of the city-state are over-served and some are under-served, which has led to liquor mafia. 

"Government will ensure equitable distribution of liquor shops so that liquor mafia are thrown out of the trade. A revenue growth of 20 per cent is estimated after the reforms in excise department," Sisodia added.

As per the new rules, liquor shops in Delhi will be allowed to open only if they are set up in a space of 500 sq ft, adding that serving windows of the shops must not face the roads. 

The Deputy CM added that liquor rates will be as per market trends and the quality of liquor will be of international standards. 

Sisodia said that suggestions have been submitted to abolish the licence recommendation system for hospitality and restaurant sector. He added that strict action will be taken to ensure that there is no tax evasion.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta