Drug menace bigger threat than militancy, we’re going Punjab way: J&K DGP Dilbag Singh(Indian Express)

Drug menace bigger threat than militancy, we’re going Punjab way: J&K DGP Dilbag Singh(Indian Express)

Syllabus:  GS-II, Polity and Governance;

Context: The drug menace, that the society currently faces, is a bigger threat than militancy. Terrorism brings death, destruction and agony to civil society in many ways. However, a much bigger pain awaits us if we do not pay attention and go all out to face the drug challenge today.


How serious is the Crisis?

  • Firstly, Pakistan agencies, which were earlier in the business of terrorism, have taken it up as a matter of policy to use drugs to fund terror as well as to mix terror with social crime to harm society and punish the people of J&K for choosing peace over terror.
  • It was done in Punjab in the same way and while the state’s militancy died a long time ago, the problem of drugs is as threatening as ever.


Current Status in J&K:

  • Over the last four years, the number of cases and arrests have both gone up.
  • The number of victims or persons consuming drugs is estimated to be around 5-7 lakh (in Jammu & Kashmir), of a population of 1.3 crore.
    • These are all young people, generally between 13 and 30 years..


What is the route these drugs take within J&K?

  • Vehicles coming from Punjab use women as cover. The number of women couriers has gone up.
    • The earlier funding channels (and) most of those have dried up.
    • The most attractive funding route has become by way of drugs.
  • Synthetic drugs, both pharma and opioids, are coming from Punjab and Himachal.


What’s the structure supporting these couriers?

  • The involvement of villages just beyond the fence has been noted because of their proximity to villages across the LoC.
  • The major source are some of the drug lords and drug mafia in Afghanistan. From there, it travels to Pakistan and from there to J&K.

What are the measures in place for controlling the movement of drugs into and within J&K?

  • Over the last two years, a lot of couriers have been killed right on the border during the course of transportation of drugs from across the fence towards our side.
  • In 2022-2023, there have been about 20 serious cases of narco-terror that were investigated — where drugs and weapons have been transported together. Apart from this, there have been 20 or so consignments — both narcotics and weapons or IEDs – delivered through drones.


What is the Status of Drug Menace in India?

  • The menace of drug addiction has spread fast among the youth of India.
    • India is sandwiched between two largest Opium producing regions of the world that is the Golden triangle on one side and the Golden crescent on other.
      • The golden triangle area comprises Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos.
      • The golden crescent area includes Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
  • According to World Drug Report 2022, India has the fourth largest quantity of opium seized in 2020 at 5.2 tons and the third-highest amount of morphine was also seized.
  • India is also linked to shipment of drugs sold on the 19 major darknet markets analysed over 2011-2020.


What are the Initiatives to Cope with Drug Menace?

  • Narco-Coordination Centre: was constituted in November, 2016 and the scheme of “Financial Assistance to States for Narcotics Control” was revived.
  • Seizure Information Management System (SIMS): SIMS is a e-portal created by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to create a complete online database of drug offences and offenders.
  • National Drug Abuse Survey: The Min of Social Justice is also conducting a National Drug Abuse Survey to measure trends of drug abuse in India.
  • Project Sunrise: launched by the Ministry of Health in 2016, to tackle the rising HIV prevalence in north-eastern states in India, especially among people injecting drugs.
  • NDPS Act: It prohibits a person from producing, possessing, selling, purchasing, transporting, storing, and/or consuming any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.
    • The NDPS Act has since been amended thrice – in 1988, 2001 and 2014.
    • The Act extends to the whole of India and it applies also to all Indian citizens outside India and to all persons on ships and aircraft registered in India.
  • Nasha Mukt Bharat: which focuses on community outreach programs.
  1. Goa is the only state with a Uniform Civil Code. Here’s what it looks like (Indian Express)

Syllabus:  GS- II, Polity and Governance;

Context: With the matter of a Uniform Civil Code likely to be kept alive in the run-up to the 2024 elections, the BJP-led government is unlikely to push it through in its current term – the crucial question is what form and shape the proposed law would take.


What is the Portuguese Civil code?

  • It’s a 156-year-old, 647-page code that was enacted in the Ajuda Palace in Lisbon. The code cuts across all religions and governs everything from gender equality in marriage to personal inheritance
  • Issued in the palace of Ajuda on July 1, 1867, the Code begins with an invocation of “Dom Luiz, by the grace of God, King of Portugal and Algarves, etc”. The Code was drafted by Dr Antonio Luis de Seabra, 1st Viscount of Seabra, and a judge of the High Court of Porto. It took him nine years to finish the task.


  • After its liberation in 1961 from Portugal, Goa, with a population of just six lakh at that time, retained the Portuguese Civil Code, making it the only state to have a Uniform Civil Code for all religions. Besides Goa, the Code governs the Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.


  • Both sons and daughters are entitled to an equal share in the ancestral property
  • Entire property can’t be disposed of through a will-
    • a part of the estate must go to legal heirs
    • After marriage, each spouse is entitled to joint ownership of all property held by the other partner. They can’t sell the property without each other’s consent.


  • It applies to ‘Goans’: by legal definition, that’s someone whose either of the two parents or grandparents were born in Goa before December 20, 1961. But it is difficult to estimate how many among the state’s 15-lakh population fit the definition of a ‘Goan’.
  • Since the Portuguese law allows those born in its erstwhile colonies – for up to three generations to take up Portuguese citizenship, many may have taken up that option.


  • Not very. There are different rules – and exemptions – for Hindus and Catholics.
  • For instance, while the Code prescribes monogamy, a Hindu male is allowed the right to bigamy under certain conditions.
  • Also, anyone who doesn’t fit the 1961 criterion and is therefore not ‘Goan’ by legal definition isn’t governed under this Code; they are governed under different civil laws in India.
  1. Govt, WHO chief stress importance of traditional medicine, cite growing demand (Indian Express)

Syllabus:  GS-II, Polity and Governance, Health;

Context: A year after the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine was set up in India, the country is hosting the first global summit, alongside the ongoing G20 ministerial meeting of the health track, with an aim to help identify areas of collaboration in traditional medicine.


About Global Summit on Traditional Medicine

  • The Ministry of Ayush and the World Health Organisation is organizing the two-day Summit, on the 17th and 18th of August 2023 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
  • The summit will explore the role of traditional, complementary and integrative medicine in addressing health challenges and driving progress in global health and sustainable development.
  • Health ministers from 30 countries will attend this two-day event.

What is Traditional Medicine?

  • The WHO describes traditional medicine as the total sum of the “knowledge, skills and practices indigenous and different cultures have used over time to maintain health and prevent, diagnose and treat physical and mental illness.
  • Its reach encompasses ancient practices such as acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine and herbal mixtures as well as modern medicines.
  • Traditional medicine in India is often defined as including practices and therapies such as yoga, Ayurveda, Siddha that have been part of Indian tradition historically.
  • Practices: Ayurveda and yoga are practised widely across the country.
    • The Siddha system is followed predominantly in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
    • The Sowa-Rigpa system is practised mainly in Leh-Ladakh and Himalayan regions such as Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling, Lahaul & Spiti.

Importance of traditional medicines:

  • 88% of all countries are estimated to use traditional medicine, such as herbal medicines, acupuncture, yoga, indigenous therapies and others.
  • One hundred seventy States report the use of traditional medicine, and their priority request to WHO is for evidence.
  • Traditional medicine is also part of the growing trillion-dollar global health, wellness, beauty, and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Over 40% of pharmaceutical formulations are based on natural products and landmark drugs, including aspirin and artemisinin, originated from traditional medicine.

Progress in Traditional medicine

  • Evidence-based research is being done in the field of AYUSH in dealing with diseases like cancer, TB, communicable diseases and women and child health with a scientific approach.
  • In the last 9 years, India has developed eight folds in the field of traditional medicine. By the end of the year, more than 12,500 Ayush-based Health & wellness centres will be functional across the nation, out of which 8,500 are already in place.
  • The Ayush visa will facilitate global access to Indian traditional medicine systems and will usher in a new era of comprehensive healthcare.
  • Ayush Exhibition Zone promises to be an immersive experience with innovative and interactive kiosks.

About WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM):

  • Establishment: India (Jamnagar) and the WHO.
  • Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA) in Jamnagar supported by the Gujarat government and financed by the central government, is the first university to offer education and training in the field of Ayurveda across the world.
  • Aim: The GCTM will aim to focus on evidence-based research, innovation, and data analysis to optimise the contribution of traditional medicine to global health.
    • Its main focus will be to develop norms, standards and guidelines in technical areas relating to traditional medicine.
  • Significance of the centre: it will seek to set policies and standards on traditional medicine products and help countries create a comprehensive, safe, and high-quality health system.
  • The GCTM will support efforts to implement the WHO’s Traditional Medicine Strategy (2014-23): which aims to support nations in developing policies & action plans to strengthen the role of traditional medicine in pursuing the goal of universal health coverage.
  • According to WHO estimates, 80% of the world’s population uses traditional medicine.
  1. WHO South-East Asia Region commits to further enhance efforts to end TB, adopt Gandhinagar Declaration(The Hindu)

Syllabus:  GS-III, Polity and Governance;

Context: The WHO South-East Asia Region recently committed to further accelerate efforts to end tuberculosis by 2030, with member countries adopting the Gandhinagar Declaration.


What is Gandhinagar Declaration?

  • It was adopted at the end of the two-day meeting held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, to follow up on the progress made to end tuberculosis (TB) by the countries of the WHO South-East Asia Region.
  • The Declaration calls for establishing high-level multisectoral commission reporting to the highest political level in each country for synergy of efforts among various stakeholders and to monitor progress towards ending TB and other priority diseases.
  • These high-level multisectoral commission on TB could also help build responsive health systems and advance universal health coverage and health security.
  • The declaration calls for ensuring appropriate adoption and use of science and technology for equitable and human rights-based TB services that are accessible to all, irrespective of any social, cultural, or demographic divide, through an integrated, primary health care approach. 
  • It emphasises on the allocation of necessary resources to meet TB service coverage targets and address social determinants to have a multi-disease impact.
  • The declaration calls on WHO to maintain TB as a Flagship Priority Programme over the coming years and provide leadership and technical support to countries for sustained and accelerated approaches supported by research and innovation.
  • It calls upon all partners to enhance their support to end TB and priority diseases in the Region as per the UN Sustainable Development Goals target 3.3 – End the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases, and other communicable diseases.
  1. For 15-34 yr olds top concrn is jobs, economic struggles : Survey (Indian Express)

Syllabus:  GS-III, Economy;

Context: These findings, which are part of a report released by Lokniti-CSDS earlier this month, suggest that the youth identify challenges relating to the economy as the most significant facing the nation.


Key Highlights of Lokniti-CSDS’s survey:

  • More than one in three (36%) Indians between the ages of 15 and 34 believe unemployment is the biggest problem before the country.
  • About one in six (16%) think it is poverty, and 13% think it is inflation.
  • Concerns over Jobs –
    • The proportion of youth identifying unemployment as the biggest problem has increased by 18 percentage points from the results of a similar survey in 2016.
    • The share of those identifying price rise as the primary concern has increased by 7 percentage points.
    • It is particularly pronounced among middle-class youth.
    • Also, as many as 40% of highly educated respondents (graduate and above) identified unemployment as the most pressing concern.
      • In contrast, only 27% of non-literate individuals cited unemployment as their primary concern, likely due to their greater willingness to take on a range of jobs.
    • 42% of men said unemployment was the most significant problem; among young women, this number was 31%.
  • Occupational Status –
    • Almost half of respondents (49%) said they were engaged in some form of work — 40% had full-time jobs; 9% were working part-time.
    • Almost a fourth (23%) of youth with jobs were self-employed.
    • 16% were professionals such as doctors or engineers,15% were involved in agriculture, and semi-unskilled and skilled workers made up 27% of the total.
    • Only 6% were in government jobs.
  • Government Job vs Private Job –
    • Asked to choose from a government job, a private job, or setting up their own business.
    • Three out of five respondents chose government jobs, and more than one out of four opted for own business.
  1. Now, drones to monitor MGNREGA worksites (The Hindu)

Syllabus:  GS-II, Polity and Governance; GS-III, Science and Tech;

Context: Union government SOP permits drone usage for investigating corruption complaints or other violations at MGNREGA worksites; States will not get additional funds for drones.


  • The drones will be used for four types of monitoring:
    • surveying the ongoing works,
    • inspecting the completed works,
    • impact assessment, and
    • special inspection in case of complaints.

What is MGNREGA?

  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), also known as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) is Indian legislation enacted on August 25, 2005.

Key Features:

  • Legal right to work- The Act provides a legal right to employment for adult members of rural households.
    • At least one-third beneficiaries have to be women.
    • Wages must be paid according to the wages specified for agricultural labourers the state under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
  • Time-bound guarantee of work and unemployment allowance– Employment must be provided with 15 days of being demanded to fail which an ‘unemployment allowance’ must be given.
  • Decentralised planningGram sabhas must recommend the works that are to be undertaken and at least 50% of the works must be executed by them.  PRIs are primarily responsible for planning, implementation and monitoring of the works that are undertaken.
  • Transparency and accountability– Social audits are conducted by gram sabhas.
  • Funding- shared between the centre and the states. The central government bears 100% of the cost of unskilled labour, 75% of the cost of semi-skilled and skilled labour, 75% of the cost of materials and 6% of the administrative costs.
  1. Bilkis Bano case: SC asks why remission policy is ‘selective’ (The Hindu)

Syllabus:  GS-II, Polity and Governance;

Context: SC is hearing petitions challenging the early release of 11 convicts in the case.


  • The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Gujarat government whether its premature release policy for prisoners was applied only “selectively”.

What is Bilkis Bano Case?

  • In the aftermath of the Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002, Bikinis Bano and her family were attacked by a group of people.
  • Bilkis was brutally gangraped and seven of her family members were murdered.
  • Her case was taken up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Supreme Court, which ordered an investigation by the CBI.
  • In January 2008, a special CBI court in Mumbai had sentenced the 11 accused to life imprisonment.
  • Release of these convicts
    • In 2022, one of the convicts, after completing 15 years and four months of his life term, moved to the Supreme Court for early release.
    • The SC asked the Gujarat government to consider the application for premature release, as per the state’s 1992 remission policy.
    • In August, the Gujarat government released all 11 convicts, after which Bilkis Bano filed the review petition with the SC.
  • Review petition by Bilkis Bano
    • Her petition had wanted the court to reconsider its judgment which permitted the Gujarat government to apply the State’s Premature Release Policy of 1992.
    • Through her review petition, Bano said the remission policy of the State of Maharashtra, where the trial happened, and not Gujarat would have governed the case.
    • In May 2022, the Supreme Court ruled that there cannot be a concurrent jurisdiction of two State governments on the issue of remission.
    • Premature release of a convict has to be considered in terms of the policy applicable in the State where the crime was committed
    • Hence, Gujrat government’s remission policy was applied for the release of these convicts.

What are the laws available on remissions?

  • Under Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution, the President and Governors have the power to pardon, and to suspend, remit, or commute a sentence passed by the courts.
  • Since prisons is a state subject, state governments have powers under Section 432 of the CrPC to remit sentences.
  • Prisoners are often released on the birth and death anniversaries of prominent leaders and other important occasions.

What are the grounds for remission?

  • States set up a Sentence Review Board to exercise the powers under Section 432 of the CrPC.
  • The Supreme Court has held that states cannot exercise the power of remission arbitrarily, and must follow due process.
  • Factors considered for granting remission
    • Seriousness of the crime
    • The status of the co-accused
    • Conduct in jail
  • In ‘Laxman Naskar v. Union of India’ (2000) the SC laid down five grounds on which remission is considered.
    • Whether the offence is an individual act of crime that does not affect the society
    • Whether there is a chance of the crime being repeated in future
    • Whether the convict has lost the potentiality to commit crime
    • Whether any purpose is being served in keeping the convict in prison
    • Socio-economic conditions of the convict’s family
  • Jail manuals contain rules that allow certain days of remission in every month for good behaviour of convicts.
  • However, convicts serving life sentences are entitled to seek remission only after serving a minimum of 14 years.

Why is the remission criticized?

  • Against treating crimes as heinous The remission runs contrary to the spirit of contemporary thinking on treating crimes against women and children as so heinous that the perpetrators should not be considered for remission.
  • No premature release The Cr.P.C. does permit premature release in the form of remission or commutation in life sentences, but it should be based on a legal and constitutional scheme, and not on a ruler’s whimsy.
  • Political considerations Any decision on remission should be linked to the convict’s expression of regret and some promise of reform.
  • It would be unjustified if given for political considerations merely because of elapse of the minimum number of years they have to serve
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