Thursday, August 30, 2007

Financial assistance to Combat illicit traffic in narcotic drugs

According to latest assessments, there are approximately 4million drug addicts in India. The actual figure may be higher. Themost common drugs of abuse are ganja, hashish, opium and heroin.The abuse of pharmaceutical preparations like buprenorphine,codeine based cough syrups and painkillers like proxivon has alsoassumed serious proportions
In certain regions of the country, drug abuse has alreadybecome a severe socio-economic problem with the potential to affect Indias future generation adversly. It has become necessary to strengthen state enforcement agencies. State governments are aware of the drug related problems in their state. and they can address themin an effective manner before they assume epidemic proportions. The strategies would include both supply reduction and demand reduction.Supply reduction would include enforcement activities while demand reduction would involve rehabilitation and de-addiction measures
Last year, Union Ministry of Home Affairs launched a scheme to finance state governments to strengthen enforcement capabilities for combating illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
The Narcotics Control Bureau being the national nodal agencyfor drug administration supports requests from state governments for assistance for improving their enforcement capabilities in dealing with the supply side of the drug menace.

Assistance is provided only to those States which have established the following basic institutional arrangements prescribed by NCB for effective enforcement of anti narcotics laws:-
a) A Multi disciplinary level Coordination Committee under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary or a senior Secretary has to be established for regular interaction with various Central and State agencies including NCB for coordination and sharing of information and reviewing the drug situation in the state. The Coordination Committee may meet at regular intervals with a structured agenda on drug related matters.

b)The States should set up an Anti Narcotics Task Force under an IG level officer with duties and responsibilities dulydemarcated.
The State should formalize an Action Plan to address narcotics related issues.The Action Plan should include, inter-alia,identification of regions, which are sensitive to drugs trafficking,requiring focused attention and strategy for action in these regions.The Action Plan should address both demand control and supplycontrol strategies.
During the financial year 2005-06, assistance was extended to the selected states totalling to a sum of Rs.1.3 crore for financial assistance to the States under the Scheme.
Out of this, assistance of approximately Rs.42.30 lakhs has been granted to the Sikkim through State nodal agency Excise Abkari Department who are entrusted to implement Action Plan in Sikkim on bahalf of Narcotic Control Bureau .
Sikkim has assumed a significant role in mapping of narcotic transhipments in view of its recently opened international border of Nathula.