Dear Readers,

Yesterday, we gave you the following practice topic for WAT – “It is advisable to raise the legal drinking age limit to 25 years for responsible drinking.” This topic had appeared in the IIM Ahmedabad entrance in 2013. In this article, we will look at the correct approach for an essay on this topic and will also cover some important points which may be used in this essay.

Guidelines – How to Approach this Question

· This is an opinion-based topic. Ideally, along with your opinion, you should also include relevant facts and figures in your essay. These supporting facts and figures will make your essay more impressive.

· The previous WAT topic asked for your suggestions on socio-political turmoil and thus, provided a lot of scope for creativity. The current question, though, tests more of your logical and pragmatic thinking ability.

· In such a practical topic, your answer should demonstrate your maturity of thinking. Your essay (and opinion) should, therefore, be realistic and based on ground realities.

· The more facts you cite in support of your view, the stronger your essay will be.

What to Write in the Answer

Here are some points which you can use in your answer:

· Introduction: The introduction of your essay should begin with some relevant background. You can talk about different legal age limits set in various parts of the country. In Delhi, for instance, the legal minimum drinking age is 25 years. In some other parts of the country, it is set at 21 years. You may end the first paragraph with a line like, “While the idea of raising the legal drinking age and keeping it at 25 years across the country may seem attractive, one needs to assess its impact”. Such a line directly connects the introduction to the body of your essay.

· Main Body: You can choose to write the essay in favour of or against the topic or you may choose to present some points both for and against the topic. The conclusion of your essay should follow from the points that you include in the body of the essay. Here, we will look at some points for both the sides in this article.

· YES: In this view, you agree that the legal drinking age should be raised to 25 years across the country.

· Some points in favour of this view are: Raising the drinking age to 25 may reduce crime rates. Many violent rates, including horrendous crimes against women and children, are committed under the influence of alcohol. Even cases of drunk-driving would reduce. Drinking is a big problem in the poorer sections of the society. It is a major reason for families breaking up and domestic abuse. People waste their hard-earned money on alcohol and their economic conditions keep on deteriorating. Excessive and regular drinking also leads to increased rates of disease and even death. Raising the age limit for drinking will help reduce these problems.

· If the law is able to intercept underage drinkers, a lot of accidents can be averted and drinking can be made responsible by making the legal age 25.  

· NO: In this view, you are disagreeing to the suggestion that the legal drinking age should be 25. Some points in favour of this view are: In our country, the minimum age needed for casting one’s vote in elections is only 18 years. In such a situation, keeping the minimum drinking age at 25 years is an unjustified restraint on personal freedoms. You can cite the example of film actor Imran Khan who had filed a PIL in 2013, asking the Bombay High Court to make the legal drinking age 21 years. Explaining his action, he had asked, “If the legal marriage age is 18 (women) and 21 (men) then how can alcohol be depicted as demanding more responsibility than marriage?” Further, it is very difficult to enforce laws related to drinking.

· In fact, imposing laws on drinking often results in increase in illegal activities, which cause even bigger problems/challenges, and also cause a loss to the government in the form of lower tax revenues. For example, cheap country-made liquor, despite being illegal, continues to be sold in large quantities in our country.  Country-made liquor regularly causes grievous tragedies. Here you can cite the infamous Mumbai alcohol poisoning case of June 2015 in which over 100 people died. What made this incident worse was that it took place in the heart of India’s premier city.

· Similarly, you can mention that many underage youngsters anyway flout age restrictions and drink illegally, which again often results in even more crimes. An example would be the 2010 Mumbai hit and run case where the drunk driver, Anirudh Munj, was just 17 years old and caused the death of a biker.

· In such a scenario where drinking laws are often abused, making new laws or raising the age bar will only serve to incentivise illegal acts.

· Conclusion: Your conclusion should follow from the points that you mention. If you consider the points given above, raising the age bar does not appear to be an attractive course of action. You may mention this in your concluding paragraph and then provide alternative solutions.

· What should be done? For example, you
may suggest that instead of making newer laws against drinking (and/or raising
the age bar), the image of drinking should be attacked. In our popular media
(movies and TV), drinking is often portrayed as something that makes you cool
and more acceptable in social gatherings. This makes alcohol consumption more attractive
for teenagers. To counter this, campaigns along the lines of the No Smoking ads
should be carried out so that the ill-effects of alcohol are made visible. Much
like in the case of cigarettes and tobacco, awareness about the dangers of
drinking needs to be increased. If alcohol consumption is depicted as
unappealing and hazardous to health, laws about legal drinking age will not
need to be imposed.

The next topic
is – “AAPtards and Bhakts: Is India’s
current political discourse worthy of a civilised nation?”

To access the whole series of our WAT articles, you can start here:…

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