New Delhi [India], December 7 (ANI): India has signed 27 bilateral Agreements, 15 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and two agreements on security cooperation with different countries for combating illicit trafficking of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai told the Rajya Sabha.
The Minister shared the information while giving a written reply to a question asked by Telugu Desam Party MP Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar.
Rai said, "The Border Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal, Indian Coast Guard,
Railway Protection Force and Assam Rifles have been empowered under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act for making interdiction of narcotic drugs."
He said the government has introduced the Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD) in 2016 to have effective coordination of actions among various Ministries, Departments, and Central and state law enforcement agencies.
"The mechanism was restructured in 2019 into a 4 tier structure: Apex Committee (Headed by Union Home Secretary), Executive Committee (Headed by Special Secretary (IS), MHA), State Level Committee (Headed by Chief Secretary of the concerned State), and District Level Committee (Headed by District Magistrate)," he said.
The Minister also said that the NCORD mechanism has been further strengthened in 2022.
Rai further added that the Narcotics Control Bureau coordinates with various international organisations such as SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk (SDOMD); Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS); Colombo Plan; Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters (ASOD); Bay of Bengal Initiative For Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-Operation (BIMSTEC); Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); and International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) for sharing information and intelligence to combat trans-national drug trafficking.
Besides, Rai said, "The government has launched Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan (NMBA) in 272 identified vulnerable districts (which have been further extended to 100 more districts in 2022) with an aim to create awareness about ill effects of substance abuse among the youth, with special focus on higher education institutes, university campuses and schools."
He said that 8,000 master volunteers had been selected and trained to lead the 'Abhiyaan' activities in the identified districts, adding, "More than 82 lakh youth have actively participated in the activities of the Abhiyaan and are spreading the message against substance use. More than 4,000 YuvaMandals, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme (NSS) Volunteers have also been associated with the 'Abhiyaan'."
"Several events, competitions and awareness sessions have been organized for the student community covering more than 27 lakh students and 55,171 educational institutions," said Rai.
Social media is being effectively utilized to spread the message of the 'Abhiyaan' online through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Short awareness film about substance use has been made in nine languages, released on social media, and circulated to states to sensitize people regarding the dangers of drug abuse.
Replying to the specific question on the issue linked to Andhra Pradesh, the Minister said, "Operation Parivartan has been launched in the districts affected with illicit cultivation of Ganja in Andhra Pradesh. NCB has participated actively in the drive and 7,504 acres of illicit cultivation have been destroyed in 2021-2022."
In 2021, NCB has also organised a training and awareness program for 95 law enforcement officers in Andhra Pradesh.
Rai further said the government of India is taking various measures to tackle the menace of drugs in the country, including in the State of Andhra Pradesh. (ANI)