Narcotics Control Bureau - UPSC Notes

Narcotics Control Bureau is the drug law enforcement and intelligence agency of India responsible for fighting drug trafficking and the abuse of illegal substances. Students preparing for the IAS Exam must be aware of the topic in order to stay ahead of competitors.

The Narcotics Control Bureau can be related to the Indian Polity as well as the Internal Security and Health segments of the UPSC Syllabus

Narcotics Control Bureau

The Narcotics Control Bureau’s national headquarters is located in Delhi. It is affiliated to the Ministry of Home Affairs, which was made responsible for administering the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985. 

The National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances finds its roots in the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) i.e, the Article 47 of the Constitution of India. The DPSP directs the State to endeavour to bring about the prohibition of the consumption of intoxicating drugs injurious to health, except for medicinal purposes.

 The legislative policy is encompassed in three Central Acts, viz.

  • Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940
  • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
  • The Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988.

To learn more about Drug Abuse, click on the link.

Powers and Functions of Narcotics Control Bureau

  • The NCB is a nodal agency that is responsible for coordination with various ministries, other offices & State/Central enforcement agencies with regard to drug law enforcement and also in respect of matters relating to drug abuse.
  • It works in close cooperation with the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB), the Customs and Central Excise, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the State Police Departments and other Indian intelligence and law enforcement agencies both at the national level and the states level.
  • The NCB is also responsible for the implementation of the international obligations against illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances under various UN Conventions 1961, 1971, 1988 to which India is a signatory.
  • It also assists concerned authorities in various countries to facilitate universal action for the prevention and suppression of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Other Drug Laws and Policies

India is also a signatory to the following treaties and conventions:

  • 1961 U.N. Convention on Narcotic Drugs
  • 1971 U.N. Convention on Psychotropic Substances
  • 1988 U.N. Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances
  • 2000 Transnational Crime Convention

We have covered an RSTV programme on Fighting Drug Menace, click on the linked article to read more.

Fighting Drug Menace: RSTV – The Big Picture

Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking

Inaugurated by a Union Minister, the NCB organized the ‘Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking’ for BIMSTEC Partner Nations in New Delhi.

  • It provided an opportunity to the BIMSTEC Member nations to deliberate on the increased threats posed by drug trafficking and the collective steps that were required to negate the threats by learning from the best practices adopted by member countries.
  • Various Central and State drug law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders were also a part of the Conference.
  • Due to the increasing menace of drug trafficking faced by Asian countries, BIMSTEC was the ideal platform to tackle it on a global scale. 
  • The South Asian and South-East Asian countries face major security challenges with regard to Drug Trafficking through the sea. In order to combat these problems, collaborative efforts are necessary which will further strengthen the coordination in operations and information sharing amongst member nations.
  • Recent events such as the seizing of Methamphetamine by the NCB suggest that the Bay of Bengal region is impregnated with the drug trafficking menace.

Narcotics Control Bureau and Operation Trance

The NCB was part of a global ‘Operation Trance’, launched in December 2019, which is a joint intelligence-gathering action on international postal, express mail and courier shipments containing psychotropic drugs (which can only be purchased on a doctor’s prescription) that are abused as sedatives and painkillers.

UPSC Questions related to Narcotics Control Bureau

Is Narcotics Control Bureau a statutory body?

Narcotics Control Bureau is a nodal drug law enforcement and intelligence agency of India responsible for fighting drug trafficking and the abuse of illegal substances.

Who is the head of Narcotics Control Bureau?

Currently, Rakesh Asthana is the chief of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).

What are the functions of Narcotics Control Bureau?

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is responsible for coordination with various ministries, other offices & State/Central enforcement agencies with regard to drug law enforcement and also in respect of matters relating to drug abuse.

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