About 30 percent of men and a little less than five percent of women consume alcohol in India, as most start drinking at the age of 20 years, the Lok Sabha was informed Wednesday.
Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Panabaka Lakshmi said the government is 'cognizant of the fact that consumption of alcohol in excessive amounts can lead to social, economic and health related problems'.
Quoting a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans) for the World Health Organisation (WHO), which was published in 2006, she said the study showed that nearly 30 percent of adult men and less than five percent of women consume alcohol - giving a male to female ratio of 6:1.
'Alcohol use is higher in poor communities. The average age of initiation has reduced from 28 years during the 80s to 20 years in recent years,' she said.
The minister said the policy with regard to sale and distribution of alcohol is within the purview of the state governments. 'Therefore, the efforts made to contain the damage done by alcoholism vary from state to state.'
She said through the de-addiction centres, people are provided clinical care, counselling and rehabilitation. These centres, which are funded by the government also create awareness, she added.