<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is India’s nodal agency to fight drug trafficking, but it is facing a host of challenges, crippling its capacity to fight the powerful cartels on the ground. The NCB has 700 officials, 400 less than its sanctioned strength.Its major challenge is gathering intelligence. The unit has a small team of around 20 to 25 people in about 25 states. It does not have offices in a few states.The NCB is heavily dependent on local enforcement agencies and state police forces. “Sadly, anti-narcotics units in states are not a top priority. These units are headed by low-rank officials, except in Punjab where an Additional Director General-level officer is heading the unit,” said a senior officer. According to him, this is one of the major hurdles. The local police can generate huge intelligence pertaining to drug trafficking but they have failed to do so, he said.The second biggest challenge is how to stop pilferage of Schedule–H or prescription drugs. “It has been found that a truck full of Schedule–H drugs has been smuggled into Bangladesh,” said the officer. The manufacture and sale of all drugs under Schedule–H are covered under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940. But lack of proper mechanism to check manufacture and sale, and easy availability lead to pilferage of Schedule–H drugs. Thirdly, local enforcement agencies have often been found inefficient with not much interest in proper implementation of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.Another important aspect is the lack of infrastructure with the NCB. This leads to various operational hurdles.Also, drug networks are spread across the globe and there is a need for strong relations with other countries to break networks.To deal with this, the Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted a multi-stake coordination centre for all agencies, border-guarding forces and police establishments and forces in the states to interact with the NCB and together fight the drug menace. The Ministry has established a Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD) and ordered coordination meetings on monthly basis.”In pursuance of the mandate of the NCB to have effective coordination amongst the various drug law enforcement agencies as well as different departments/ministries dealing with policy matters, the Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD),” a ministry notification said.The notification further pointed out, “Various enforcement agencies in the country like the state police, the border guarding force, DRI, Custom and Central Excise, besides the NCB (which is the Nodal Agency) have been vested with the task of enforcing the NDPS Act. Different departments/ministry like the Department of Revenue (Ministry of Finance), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Home Affairs, deal with different aspects including policy matters for the purpose of effectively preventing and combating abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and illicit trafficking.”


NCB faced with manpower and infra challenges