“Kerala model” of liquor policy praised by international delegates

Mr. Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala inaugurated Subodham I-Con 2016

International policy advocates praised Kerala’s alcohol policy as a “model for the world” and said they would like to collaborate with the government in the global fight against alcohol at the inaugural function of Subodham I-CON 2016, an international conference on ‘Effective Strategies for the Prevention of Alcohol & Substance Abuse’ at Tagore Theatre in the capital city.

Mr. Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala  has inaugurated Subodham I-CON 2016, a three-day conference that will showcase to delegates from around the world the state government’s  2014-15 liquor policy aimed at an ‘addiction free Kerala’ by 2030. The conference will also consider global trends in demand reduction, harm reduction and research from around the globe.

“There have been measurable results in supply reduction thanks to the government policy; crime rates have come down and there has been an improvement in the quality of life of families,” said Mr. Oommen Chandy. “I hope the world will consider this as a new Kerala model in this area.”

Around 150 national and international delegates including representatives from the World Health Organization, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance and NGOs will participate in the conference hosted by the Subodham initiative set up last April to tackle addiction through awareness, research and rehabilitation programmes.

“The government has earmarked Rs 78 crore for Subodham this year, and Rs 148 crore over the next two years,” said Mr. K Babu, Excise Minister . “It is our endeavour to take the government’s bold and determined liquor policy to its logical conclusion in the face of brutal victimisation and baseless allegations.”

Global policy expert Mr Derek Rutherford and WHO Expert Committee Chairperson Prof Sally Casswell congratulated the government for seizing the opportunity to take action. “It is noteworthy that the government has recognised that its first priority is the people’s health and social well being,” said Mr Rutherford in his keynote address. “A partnership between civil society and the government is essential for taking forward this government policy.”

Also present at the function were Mr. W R Reddy, Principal Secretary of Taxes , Mr. Anil Xavier, Excise Commissioner,  Mr. Johnson J Edayaranmula, Subodham Advisor  and Dr K Ampady, Subodham Director.

The day-long sessions on February 18 and 19 will take place at the Mascot Hotel Convention Centre.

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