India to unveil national alcohol policy

April 29th, 2008 - 6:54 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Anbumani Ramadoss

New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) India will soon have a national alcohol policy, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss announced here Tuesday, while appealing to film stars not to endorse alcohol brands through advertisements, direct or surrogate. India, which produces 65 percent of alcohol in south and southeast Asia, will soon control the number of liquor shops, tax generated from the industry and try to reduce the “alcohol burden” of the country through the national policy.

“We are going to bring in a national alcohol policy. It will take into account the views of all stake holders,” Ramadoss said after releasing the Alcohol Atlas of India.

He said the amount of revenue generated from the industry was less than the amount spent on dealing with health problems due to alcohol consumption.

“Though alcohol is a state subject, I believe the national alcohol policy will help all states in regulating the industry.”

He appealed to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to come forward and put in place a framework convention on alcohol like the one meant to curb tobacco consumption.

“WHO needs to be more pro-active in this field,” he said.

Taking a pot shot at film stars again, Ramadoss advised them not to endorse any alcohol brand or promote a surrogate advertisement.

“I appeal to all of them not to promote alcohol. Alcohol cannot be justified as a stress reliever as portrayed in films. Liquor has become a subject of fun and humour in movies,” he said.

The minister said he has been fighting against four major problems - tobacco, alcohol, drugs and junk foods.

“The alcohol problem is the mother of all problems - from social to economic. Though it’s the third most important health concern of the country, it’s soon going to be a number one worry.”

India produces nearly four million metric tonnes of alcohol every year, accounting for a whopping 65 percent of the total production in south and southeast Asia. The country imports seven percent of the alcohol coming to the region.

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