The National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is based on the Directive Principles, contained in Article 47 of the Indian Constitution, which direct the State to endeavor to bring about prohibition of the consumption, excluding for medicinal reasons, of intoxicating drugs injurious to health. The government’s policy on the subject which flows from this constitutional provision is also led by the international conventions on the subject.
India is a signatory to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, as altered by the 1972 Protocol, the Conventions on Psychotropic Substances, 1971 and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
The broad legislative policy comprises in the three Central Acts, viz. Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and The Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988. The duties of drug abuse control, which is a central function, is carried out by a number of Ministries, Departments, and Organisations. These include the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue which has the apex co-ordination role as administrator of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988.
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 which came into action from the 14th November 1985 made an express provision for constituting a Central Authority for the reason of exercising the powers and functions of the Central Government under the Act.
In existence of this provision, the Government of India constituted the NARCOTICS CONTROL BUREAU on the 17th of March, 1986. The Bureau, subject to the supervision and control of the Central Government, is to undertake the powers and functions of the Central Government for taking measures with respect to:
- Co-ordination of actions by different offices, State Governments and other authorities under the N.D.P.S. Act, Customs Act, Drugs and Cosmetics Act and any other law for the time being in force in connection with the enforcement provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985.
- Implementation of the obligation in respect of countermeasures against illicit traffic under the different international conventions and protocols that are in force at present or which may be ratified or acceded to by India in future.
- Assistance to related authorities in foreign countries and concerned international organizations to facilitate coordination and universal action for prevention and suppression of illicit traffic in these drugs and substances.
- Coordination of jobs taken by the other concerned Ministries, Departments, and Organizations in respect of issues relating to drug abuse.
The Narcotics Control Bureau is the major coordinating agency. It also works as an enforcement agency through its zones and sub-zones. Zones located at Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Indore, Jammu, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Patna. Sub-zones situated at Ajmer, Amritsar, Bhubaneswar, Dehradun, Goa, Hyderabad, Imphal, Mandsaur, Madurai, Mandi, Raipur, Ranchi, and Thiruvananthapuram. The zones and sub-zones collect and study data concerned to seizures of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substance, study trends, modus operandi, collect and disseminate intelligence and perform in close cooperation with the Customs, State Police and other law enforcement agencies.