4.1. ANTI-NARCOTICS SCHEME GETS A 3 YEAR EXTENSION
Why in news?
Centre has extended a scheme which combats illicit trafficking in drugs and psychotropic substance for 3 more years till 2020.
More about the news
• Assistance to States and UTs for Narcotics Control scheme was initially launched in 2004 and has been extended since then.
• Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is the nodal agency for the scheme.
• Under the scheme financial assistance is provided to all the anti- narcotics agencies for strengthening their enforcement capabilities, to combat illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
• 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.
Status of Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking in India
As per a home ministry report there are around 40 lakh drug addicts in India. The most common drugs of abuse are 'ganja', 'hashish', 'opium' and 'heroin'. Some of reasons for this are:
• Due to the presence of Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle in the region, India has been more vulnerable for narcotics trafficking and its abuse.
• Implementation of laws such as Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 by the states has been tardy.
• Further the rise of Virtual Currencies like Bitcoin has also increased funding avenues for smugglers and drug traffickers.
• The abuse of pharmaceutical preparations like 'buprenorphine', codeine based cough syrups and painkillers like 'proxivon' within the country.
• Other Factors: Turf wars between various agencies, corruption, intelligence failure, lack of manpower and infrastructure, poor drug detection training, and procedural delays are other factors that hamper the effectiveness of the country’s drug prevention efforts.
It is the region between the borders of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand; a famous region for its opium production.
• It is the second major area of illicit opium production in Asia spanning across three nations; Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan.
• It is located at the crossroads of Central, South and Western Asia.
• Socio-Political Impact: Drug trafficking undermines the socio-economic and political stability and sustainable development.
• Loss of Human lives: Drug trafficking and abuse has continued its significant toll on valuable human lives especially and loss of productive years of many persons around the globe.
• Ever-growing prevalence of HIV/AIDS among North eastern states people has also been highlighted as one of major implication by UNDOC.
• Linkage with Organised Crime: It is considered to be the originator for petty offences as well as heinous crimes like smuggling of arms & ammunition and money laundering.
• National Security: 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.
Steps Undertaken by India
• Statutory Measures: India has enacted Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking of Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988 through which the country is addressing various aspects of drug problem
• International Conventions: India is signatory to all three UN Conventions namely , the Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs, 1962, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Trafficking of Narcotics Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and has also supported the global efforts led by UN office on drug and crime (UNODC) to curb perpetrating drug menace.
• Inter-Governmental Initiatives: India has entered into various arrangements like Bi-lateral Agreements, Memorandum of Understandings with Nepal, Thailand and Myanmar, Joint Working Groups on Counter Terrorism and Judicial Cooperation with the countries in the region.
• India has formulated National Policy on Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances which has given equal emphasis on supply and demand reduction.
• New guidelines for grant of rewards to be paid to officers, informers and other persons in case of seizures of Narcotics drugs, Psychotropic substances were also issued recently.
• Ensuring physical security of the borders and coasts by strengthening patrolling and surveillance.
• Co-operating with voluntary organisations in the endeavour to prevent abuse of narcotics and synthetic drugs
• Other Initiatives: National Awards for institutions & individuals working in the field of prevention of drug abuse and creation of National Drug Abuse Helpline Number which helps the victims of drug abuse and their families in counselling and other aids.
National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 2014
• Production of Concentrate of Poppy Straw (CPS) in India by a company or body corporate to enable India to retain its status of a traditional supplier of Opiate Raw Material (ORM)
• Synchronisation and coherence among domestic laws of neighbouring countries to deter drug traffickers and also for translational exchange of criminals.
• Developing Common strategies to tackle with emerging threat of drug trafficking through maritime route.
• Further strengthening and upgradation of intelligence network, upgradation of surveillance equipment and future requirements such as the setting up of training academy and drug labs.
4.2. MISSILE TESTS
Why in news?
Recently several missiles were successfully test fired at various locations
• Agni II missile from the Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast.
• Dhanush Ballistic missile from a naval ship off Odisha coast
• Prithvi-II missile from Integrated Test Range at Chandipur.
• Anti Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) Nag in desert conditions
• It is an indigenously developed surface to surface missile developed by Advanced systems laboratory along with DRDO laboratories and integrated by the Bharat Dynamics Limited and has been already inducted into the services.
• Agni II is a two stage missile with a strike range of 2000km which could be increased up to 3000 km if the weight of the payload is reduced.
• It is equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system, guided by a novel scheme of state of the earth command and control system and was propelled by solid rocket propellant system.
• The Missile is the part of Agni series of missiles which include Agni 1 with 700 km range, Agni III with 3000 km range, Agni IV and Agni V both having long range capabilities.
• It is a nuclear capable surface-to-surface missile, a naval variant of the indigenously-developed ‘Prithvi’ missile under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP)..
• It has a strike range of 350 km and can neutralise both land and sea based targets.
• It is a single-stage, liquid-propelled is capable of carrying a payload of 500kg of conventional or nuclear warhead. It has already been inducted in the defence services.
• Prithvi-II is indigenously developed and is nuclear-capable surface-to-surface. It is a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) developed by DRDO.
• Prithvi-II is capable of carrying 500-1,000 kilogram of warheads. With a strike range of 350 km, Prithvi-II is powered by twin-engines which use liquid propulsion.
• It also uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target.
• It is a third generation “fire and forget” ATGM developed by the DRDO.
• The missile is equipped with highly advanced Imaging Infrared Radar (IRR) seeker and has integrated avionics technology in its arsenal.
• Nag can be launched from land and air-based platforms. The land version is currently available for integration on the Nag missile carrier (NAMICA), which is derived from a BMP-2 tracked infantry combat vehicle.
• The helicopter-launched configuration, designated as helicopter-launched NAG (HELINA), can be fired from Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH) and HAL Rudra attack helicopter.
• The land based version has maximum range of four kilometres while air based version has a maximum range of seven kilometres.
4.3. RUSTOM-2 DRONE
Why in news?
Recently DRDO successfully carried out test flight of Rustom-2 drone.
More about Rustom-2
• Rustom-2 is medium-altitude long-endurance drone (MALE) designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of the DRDO, and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Bharat Electronics.
• It can fly up to an altitude of 22,000 feet and has endurance of over 20 hours
• It can carry variety of payloads like Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Communication Intelligence (COMINT) and Situational Awareness Payloads (SAP) for performing missions even during the night.
• It will be used by all three services of Indian armed forces, primarily for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.
• Rustom 2 can fly missions on manual as well as autonomous modes.
4.4. INDO-SEYCHELLES JOINT ARMY EXERCISE-LAMITYE
Why in news?
Recently, 8th joint military joint exercise was conducted between Indian Army and Seychelles People’s Defence Forces.
More about the Exercise
• It is an anti-narcotic, anti-piracy and counter-terrorism operation which was first conducted in 2001 with an aim of enhancing military cooperation and interoperability between Armies of the two countries.
• The main focus of the current exercise is to conduct counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations in semi urban environment under the United Nations charter.
• During the exercise the contingents will sharpen their tactical and technical skills in countering insurgency and terrorism in UN Peacekeeping.
4.5. PASCHIM LEHAR EXERCISE
Why in news?
Recently, Western Naval Command conducted tri-services maritime exercise Paschim Lehar.
More about the Exercise
• The tri-service exercise was conducted in Arabian Sea which includes participation of a large number of ships, submarines and aircrafts from Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy. The exercise aims to build interoperability.
• Units from Eastern Naval Command, Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Coast Guard are participating in the exercise.
• It is significant for India’s presence in Indian Ocean Region and also to counter growing Chinese influence in Indian Ocean Region.