The message in a bottle: Key numbers on alcohol and India


India witnessed serpentine queues outside liquor stores on Monday as the country came out of a de-facto prohibition that lasted 40 days. The scrum wouldn’t suggest it but Indians are not, relatively speaking, big drinkers. Only 14.6% of the population drinks. And there’s a big gender divide — 27% of men drink while only 1.6% of women do. This, and Gandhian proscriptions mean that prohibition has often been politically saleable in India. Here are the key numbers on alcohol and India.

GLOBAL DRY RUN

Restricted access to alcohol has been a side effect of the Covid-19 pandemic around the world. Pubs in the UK closed — for the first time in the country’s history. South Africa shut down the liquor trade, like India did, and saw a spike in home brewing (pineapple beer is a favourite). The US has seen a surge in online sales, which rose 387% in the week ended April 11, according to Nielsen data.

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SOBERING TRUTH

57 Million: People affected by harmful or dependent alcohol use.

40%: Share of road accidents caused by drivers under influence of alcohol

72%: Share of accidents on national highways due to drunk driving

Source: Alcohol & Drug Information Centre, Niti Aayog





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