Drugs Control in India – NDPS Act, NCB, prevention and cure

In May 2023, a minimum of 2,500 kg of drugs, suspected to be methamphetamine was brought under seized near the Kerala coast in a combined operation by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and Indian Navy. NCB which works under the Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal body for the control of drugs and drug abuse in India.

According to NCB, it is the largest seizure of the drug methamphetamine in the country to date. The seizure took place under the code name ‘Operation SamudraGupt’. Operation Samudragupt was initiated by the NCB in January 2022, to stop the contraband that is brought into India through the sea route. It is part and parcel of the Central government’s plan to make India drug-free by 2047.

Main Reasons for the spread of drugs in India

Drug Abuse.
  1. India is geographically located between the golden triangle (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam etc.) and the Golden Cresent (Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan). Golden Cresent is the producer of drugs and the golden triangle is the main consumer. 90% of the trade takes among these two and India lies between the two necessary for the transport of drugs. Thus, these drugs affect and pass through the Indian territory.
  2. Around 70% of the total illegal drugs are smuggled through the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal route into India, thus, posing a major challenge for law enforcement agencies like NCB, CBI etc. in India. The use of marine routes creates greater chances of escaping the security apparatus of the country.
  3. The use of couriers, and postal services, are the smartest ways to smuggle. This smuggling of drugs has gone up significantly in recent years – 300% in 2020 and 200% in 2021 compared to 2019.
  4. Terror organizations in Pakistan and the ISI want a smooth drug trade through the land and sea border so that their nexus remains relevant. Also, organised gangs, who perform extortion activities in their local areas, are now doing drug trafficking and gun running.

Other Reasons for Drugs Abuse

  1. India is having porous borders with many countries like Pakistan, Nepal etc. Most of the trafficking of heroin in India takes place through the Indo-Pakistan border and the trafficking of ganja in good amounts takes place across the India-Nepal border.
  2. Also, Technology is a new weapon in the hands of these gangs and smugglers. Drones are being used to supply drugs and weapons across the border in Punjab. Furthermore, the darknet is serving as a platform for illicit drug trafficking. Darknet markets are superior to traditional drug markets because of their anonymity and low risks. Moreover, Crypto payments doorstep delivery through couriers is also facilitating the end-to-end delivery of drugs.
  3. When people are unemployed and have easy cash on their hands, they tend to get attracted towards drug abuse. The same phenomenon is occurring in the Northeastern regions of India.
  4. There is a lack of cooperation between the central and state authorities for the eradication of drugs in India due to the federal structure of India. Also, there is more focus on drug distributors than on the source of drug trafficking in India.

Steps taken by the GOI to curb Drug Abuse

  1. The Ministry of Home Affairs is prepared with a three-pronged strategy to counter drug abuse. The components of the strategy include – Strengthening institutional structures, Empowerment all agencies and Launching an awareness campaign.
  2. Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), 1985 came up as the main legislation to control the use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. It provided the rules of procedure for punishing offences related to illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances through imprisonment and forfeiture of property. Section 27A of the NDPS Act mentions the punishment for financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders.
  3. A narco coordination centre (NCORD) is functioning under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs for good and efficient coordination among various law enforcement agencies. Also, a Multi-Agency Maritime Security Group (MAMSG) has been introduced under the National Security Council Secretariat, for monitoring of smuggling of drugs through sea routes.
  4. The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) have excellent coordination not only with the security agencies but also with their counterparts of Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bangladesh as drugs are one the main security threat to all the countries.
  5. Earlier, NCB was having three regional offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. From Now, it is widening its coverage by setting up new regional offices in Amritsar (to control Punjab Trade), and Chennai (for stopping the smuggling of drugs into India via marine channels).
  6. NIDAAN (National Integrated Database on Arrested Narco-offenders) portal was launched as a database of arrested narcotics offenders. It is now operational for use by various central and state prosecution agencies to enforce and implement anti-drug laws in the country.

Solutions

  1. Many states are working in isolation regarding drug use in India. They hesitate to share their intelligence with each for the matter. Hence, all the states, Uts and the Union have to develop synergy and coordination among themselves for the effective implementation of the anti-drug laws in the country.
  2. The offenders are using the latest and cutting-edge technology for their operational roles. Hence, it becomes vital for enforcement agencies to become upgrade and adopt the state of art technologies to curb drug abuse. States along with the National Forensic Science University should use modern technologies like blockchain, map intelligence and digital forensics to curb the use of the dark net
    and cryptocurrency.
  3. Most of the time the agencies are taking information from the distributors and not the source of supply. This leads to the continuous supply of drugs even after the distributor is arrested. Enforcement agencies have to attack the root of the problem.
  4. Awareness amounts the citizens is the most sustainable way to curb the abuse. Citizens should be made aware of the harmful mental and physical effects of drug abuse so that they could choose healthy life choices according to their needs. This would automatically reduce the demand for the drugs leading to a sharp reduction in the supply of the drugs.
  5. The amount of fines and punishment under the NDPS Act is not rationalized. It should be rationalized in relation to the amount of contraband received from the offender.

Also Read

Indian Space Policy 2023-

India-US Summit-

Liberalised Remittances Scheme (LRS)

United Nations – Reforms and UNSC

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