Delhi’s status as a ‘state’ was not clearly defined, but it was hurt this week when the Lok Sabha passed a bill seeking the opinion of its elected government appointing its lieutenant governor, the Center. Takes any executive action. If the Rajya Sabha clears, the Act will significantly deprive Delhi of its governing body and its autonomous administration, thereby losing the federal spirit, even though our capital is a central territory for very weighty purposes. The move by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi was protested as expected by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi, but soon doubled some part of its agenda as it gained more power than the first half. Decade ago: Local liquor market reforms. In a revival of its excise policy, Delhi proposed not only to simplify the retail scenario of the capital, but also to reduce the legal age for drinking from 25 to 21 by converting government-booze outlets to private players (by auction). Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who holds the finance portfolio, said the revised policy would overturn the age-gating system that prohibits people under the age of 21 from “supervising” liquor companies. According to the Op, the decision was made through a public consultation process that considered 14,000 comments. However, for all its arguments that it should move the needle on progress with popular support, its latest amendments are too little to set its governing style different from the BJP.
Delhi Delhi’s actions can address the ills of its liquor market, they can qualify as a reformer. The policy aims to increase state revenue, end illicit trade in alcoholic beverages, curb corruption and ensure quality. Currently, there are approximately 850 liquor stores operating in the city, three-quarters of which are state-run. These operate in the seller market and push brands instead of high commissions and deceive consumers and the government. Booze shops are unevenly distributed throughout the capital, making it a place to supply fewer areas to the local mafia. Delhi Delhi’s plan, however, is not only to allow more lets toilets, but also to allow existing licensees to upgrade. It rescinds offtech and shadow deals that limit our choice and enrich intermediaries. Whether wheeler-dealers will break back into the loop, however, depends on the actual level of competition, which will depend on the auction results.
Although the change was based on suggestions made by a group of ministers and approved by the Delhi cabinet, we have not yet seen a strong debate on it in its assembly, as befits policy-making in a democracy. Take the age bar for alcohol. Like other such limitations it has long been set unilaterally, but it deserves consideration in the light of recent studies that it takes up to 20 years for the brains in adolescence to reach cognitive maturity. This is especially the case with risk assessment, which explains why a large number of fatal road crashes worldwide involve people under the age of 25. Any addictive use that weakens our faculty calls for mature judgment. This fact should fit the broad debate. It is strange that the government, which places so much emphasis on health and education, does not explain its position on the appropriate age bar. Yes, we need federalism, no doubt, but we also need lively state-level negotiations.