New Delhi: The Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh has said that the drug problem is a serious threat to public health, safety and well-being of humanity. He was addressing the inaugural session of sub-Regional Drug Focal point Meeting and Drug Demand Reduction Expert Group Consultation, South Asia organized by Narcotics Control Bureau, here today. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) representative from Regional Office for South Asia, New Delhi is also participating in this meeting.
The Union Home Minister said that our global society is facing serious consequences of drug abuse and it undermines the socio-economic and political stability and sustainable development. Besides, it also distorts the health and fabric of the society and it is considered to be the originator for petty offences as well as heinous crimes like smuggling of arms & ammunition and money laundering, he added. Shri Rajnath Singh further said that the involvement of various terrorist groups and syndicates in drug trafficking leads to threat to the national security and sovereignty of states by the way of Narco-terrorism.
Shri Rajnath Singh said that drug trafficking and abuse has continued its significant toll on valuable human lives and productive years of many person around the globe. With the growth and development of world economy, drug traffickers are also seamlessly trafficking various type of drugs from one corner to other ensuring the availability of the contrabands for vulnerable segment of the society who fall into the trap of drug peddlers and traffickers, he added.
The Union Home Minister said that due to the presence of Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle in the region, part of South West and South East Asia are more vulnerable for drug trafficking and its abuse. Due to India’s close proximity with major opium growing areas of the region, India is facing the serious menace of drug trafficking and as a spillover effect, drug abuse especially among the youth is a matter of concern for us, he added. Shri Rajnath Singh said that, the Government of India is well aware about the menace in the region and our National and State agencies in coordination with agencies of neighboring countries are making all efforts to contain the problem.
Shri Rajnath Singh said that India’s approach towards tackling the menace of drugs is well enshrined in our Constitution which in the Directive Principles lay down that the state shall make endeavors to bring about the prohibition of substances injurious for health except for medicinal and scientific purposes. Being signatory to all the three UN conventions and SAARC convention, India has enacted Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking of Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988 through which the country is addressing various aspects of drug problem. Shri Rajnath Singh further said that in order to enhance Inter-Governmental cooperation and coordination with neighboring and other countries, Government of India has entered into various arrangements like Bi-lateral Agreements, Memorandum of Understandings, Joint Working Groups on Counter Terrorism and Judicial Cooperation with the countries in the region.
Shri Rajnath Singh has said that India’s National Policy on Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances has given equal emphasis on supply and demand reduction. He said that the Prime Minister during his address to the nation on December 14, 2014, had conveyed his concerns on drug problem in the country and in the region particularly among the young generation and emphasized that the society as well as Government will have to work together to fight this problem.
The Union Home Minister has stated that the trafficking of drugs and its linkages with other organized crimes is a major challenge for the drug law enforcement agencies and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Narcotics Control Bureau and other drug law enforcement agencies of India are fully capable to deal with such challenges. He further said that the agencies are taking concerted steps for eliminating the menace of drug trafficking. Intelligence inputs are also shared with the neighboring countries on real time basis, in cases where any Institutional Mechanism exists, but, to put a strong check on the trafficking activities, the Government, the civil society and the citizens at large will have to come together to meet the challenges of drug trafficking, he added.
The Union Home Minister has said that the Government of India has also taken many steps in this field of demand reduction like;
• Formulation of National Policy for Drug Demand Reduction
• National Awards for institutions & individuals working in the field of prevention of drug abuse which are conferred on 26th June every year, which is the International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking.
• Creation of National Drug Abuse Helpline Number which helps the victims of drug abuse and their families in counseling and other aids.
Shri Rajnath Singh has said that we all agree that drug trafficking is a trans-national phenomenon and the International and Domestic laws should be so legislated so that they are in sync and coherence so as to act as a real deterrent for the drug traffickers, who otherwise are able to go scot free because of lack of consonance between the laws of different countries. He appealed all the stakeholders to work towards a regime which allows for the effective handling of this transnational menace. Most of the participating countries have seaports and maritime trade and drugs smuggling by maritime routes and it is a serious concern which has been observed in recent years, he added. He further said that the seizure of 232 Kg of Heroin by India Coast Guard in Western Coast of India in April, 2015 clearly indicates the possibility of drug trafficking in large volume through the maritime route and hoped that all the participants will sit down together to thrash out common strategies to face the challenge posed by maritime drug trafficking.
The Secretary General, Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Programme, Mr. Kinley Dorji, the Director Control, Narcotics Control Bureau, Shri Ashok Prasad, delegates from various countries namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and observer countries namely USA and Myanmar and senior officials of Ministry of Home Affairs and Narcotics Control Bureau are also participating in the meeting.
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