Citizens' Issues
India's soaring drug problem: 455 percent rise in seizures
Officials have seized 105,173 tonnes of illegal drugs over this period, a reminder of a growing Indian problem on the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit trafficking, observed on June 26 by the UN
 
India has witnessed a five-time (455 percent) increase in drug hauls over three years - 2011 to 2013 - according to data released by the government in parliament.
 
Officials have seized 105,173 tonnes of illegal drugs over this period, a reminder of a growing Indian problem on the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit trafficking, observed on June 26 by the UN.
 
With nearly 18 percent of the world’s population in the 15-64 age-group, India is a prime market for illicit opiates originating in both Southeast Asia and Southwest Asia, according to the World Drug Report 2014.
 
The latest available data, from 2004, estimates that 10.7 million Indians – more than the population of Sweden – are drug users: 8.7 million consume cannabis and 2 million use opiates, according to a National Survey Report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the Indian ministry of social justice & empowerment.
 
Mizoram, Punjab and Manipur are among the states where people are most vulnerable to drug abuse. One reason could be their proximity to porous international borders and international drug-trafficking zones, such as the Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Thailand and Laos) and Golden Crescent (Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan).
 
Mizoram tops the list of states where drugs were seized: 48,209 tonnes over the past four years, followed by Punjab with seizures of 39,064 tonnes.
 
Some of the drugs seized include amphetamine, cannabis plant, cocaine, ephedrine, ganja, hashish, heroin, ketamine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), acetic anhydride, methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA), methamphetamine, methaqualone (mandrax), morphine and opium.
 
A staggering 64,737 drug-trafficking cases have been reported in the past four years, with Punjab topping the list with 21,549 cases.
 
Punjab accounted for almost half of all cases registered in India under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) in 2013 as we reported earlier: 67 percent of rural households in Punjab have one drug or alcohol addict, while 70 percent of young men are addicted to drugs or alcohol, according to a government report based on surveys.
 
In Manipur, there are an estimated 45,000-50,000 drug addicts, of whom nearly half are users of injectible drugs.
 
Studies have also revealed that 12 percent of drug addicts are below the age of 15, while 31 percent are aged 16-25 and 56 percent are aged 25-35.
 
As many as 64,302 people, including foreigners, were arrested on drug-trafficking charges across India over the past four years.
 
Nepalese are the most arrested foreign nationals: 266 from 2011 to May 2014 followed by Nigerians (210) and Myanmarese (96).
 
In terms of drug smuggling, the India-Bangladesh border is most vulnerable with 1,607 cases reported from 2011 till June 2014, followed by India-Nepal (779), India-Myanmar (317) and India-Pakistan (120).

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Mumbai hooch tragedy: Methanol supplier nabbed from Gujarat
The Mumbai police have nabbed a Gujarat-based chemical supplier in connection with the recent Malwani hooch tragedy that claimed 103 lives, officials said here on Friday.
 
He has been identified as Kishore Patel, who supplied the methanol which was used to prepare the deadly brew. With his arrest, the total number of arrests in the case is nine so far.
 
He was arrested late Thursday and brought to Mumbai for investigations after his name was revealed by the kingpin, Mansoor Latif alias Atique, who was nabbed from Delhi earlier this week.
 
According to the investigators, Patel supplied the methanol to a bootlegger Francis D'Mello who allegedly prepared the killer brew by mixing it with water and sold it local liquor outlets in Malwani.
 
Patel will be produced before a magistrate later on Friday for remand.
 
On June 17, scores of persons consumed the cheap illicit hooch at a country liquor den in Malwani area of north-west Mumbai and fell ill.
 
Over the next few days, 103 people succumbed to the poisonous effects of the hooch, making it the state's worst-ever hooch tragedy till date.
 
The Maharashtra government has announced a probe and compensation of Rs.1 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased.

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Global economy risks 1930s-type Great Depression: Rajan
Warning that the global economy is on the brink of a situation similar to the Great Depression of the 1930s, Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan has asked central banks from across the world to define "new rules of the game" to avert a repeat of the recent global financial crisis.
 
"I do worry that we are slowly slipping into the kind of problems that we had in the thirties in attempts to activate growth," Rajan said here at a London Business School conference on Thursday evening. 
 
"We need rules of the game in order to effect a better solution. I think it is time to start debating what should the global rules of the game be on what is allowed in terms of central bank action," the RBI governor said.
 
"And, I think it's a problem for the world. It's not just a problem for the industrial countries or emerging markets, now it's a broader game," he added.
 
Rajan, who had predicted the 2008 US financial collapse and has been warning that global markets are now at the risk of a crash due to the competitive loose monetary policies being adopted by developed economies, said an international consensus was needed to be built over time.
 
"I am not going to venture a guess as to how we establish new rules of the game. It has to be international discussion, international consensus built over time after much research and action," he said.
 
When Rajan took charge at RBI in 2013, at a time the US Federal Reserve had declared its intent to wind down its stimulus programme, the rupee plunged in value in respect of the US dollar on fears about a spiralling current account deficit.
 
In a series of measures, Rajan managed to stabilize the currency that also brought back investors. "Rajan's disciplined and focussed approach in leading the Reserve Bank during his first year as governor was remarkably impressive," British magazine Central Banking said earlier this year giving Rajan their central banker of the year award for 2015. 
 
In 2011, he published the acclaimed "Fault Lines" on how hidden financial fractures threaten the world economy.
 
Pointing to the very low interest rate policies of the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England in a bid to stimulate their economies, Rajan has been warning that emerging markets are especially vulnerable to big shifts in capital flows triggered by the unprecedented monetary accommodation in rich countries.

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COMMENTS

MG Warrier

2 years ago

One wishes, those who are managing world’s resources listen to the concerns expressed by Dr Rajan. In the introduction to his book “Fault Lines”, Dr Rajan explains the use of the metaphor of fault lines thus:
“In geology, fault lines are breaks in the Earth’s surface where tectonic plates come in contact or collide. Enormous stresses build up around these fault lines. I describe the fault lines that have emerged in the global economy and explain how these fault lines affect the financial sector.”
Quoted this, to flag the clarity of the teacher in Rajan in explaining the multi-dimensional economic riddles bothering governments, planners, economists and other stakeholders at this crucial stage of economic development and the acceptability of his suggestions.
Dr Rajan concluded his postscript to the book with the following observation: “We have uncovered deficiencies, and we know that the system has little capacity to sustain a repeat. We will bicker, no doubt, and we will try easy options. But eventually, as we realize that there is no alternative to addressing our real problems, democratic debate, coupled with human ingenuity, will come up with widely acceptable solutions to our problems. We may not see those solutions now, but so long as we are aware of the problems we have to solve, and work on them, I have no doubt that solutions will emerge.”
The optimism about India expressed in the chapter “Afterword: What Lies Ahead for India” explains why Dr Rajan is in India today. Destiny has now positioned Dr Rajan in a slot from which he will be able to contribute towards realising his vision. Let us wish, Reserve Bank led by Dr Rajan will guide Indian financial sector to play the proactive role in the country’s growth story, making this decade special for all Indians.

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