Operation “Gear Box”

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    In News

    • Recently, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has launched Operation ‘Gear Box’ to stop the drug syndicate in smuggling  contraband drugs.

    About

    • The examination and seizure proceedings by DRI was done under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
    • The drug packets were shipped concealed inside the metal scrap so that they would go unnoticed by the authorities. 
    • The gears from the old and used gearboxes were removed after opening them, and the plastic packets containing the narcotic substances were placed in the created cavity, and the gearboxes were then refitted to avoid detection.

    India and Drug Abuse

    • According to the World Drug Report 2022, India is one of the world’s single largest opiate markets in terms of users and would likely be vulnerable to increased supply.
    • According to the National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India in 2019, about 2.1% of the country’s population (2.26 crore individuals) uses opioids which include opium (or its variants like poppy husk known as doda/phukki), heroin, and pharmaceutical opioids.
    • The money from the drug trade is used to finance terrorism, human trafficking, illegal businesses etc.

    Major Source of Drug Trafficking

    • India lies in the middle of two major illicit opium production regions in the world, the Golden Crescent in the west and the Golden Triangle in the east which makes it a viable hub of the illicit drug trade.
      • Golden Triangle: It includes the regions of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand and is Southeast Asia’s main opium-producing region and one of the oldest narcotics supply routes to Europe and North America.
      • Golden Crescent: It includes Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan and is a principal global site for opium production and distribution.

    Major Reasons for Drug Abuse

    • Abuse of drugs among friends and peers
    • Lack of social support
    • Stress in life
    • Low socioeconomic status
    • Mental disorder such as depression
    • Lack of friends in school or any social setting
    • Traumatic events
    • The economic downturn caused by the global pandemic may drive more people to substance abuse or leave them vulnerable to involvement in drug trafficking and related crime.

    Impacts

    • It has aggravated the crime scenario in India.
    • Persons dealing with narcotic drugs are instruments in causing the deaths of innocent and vulnerable victims.
    • Other impacts like losing job, financial troubles, sexual abuse, accidents and injuries, legal consequences, etc.

    Initiatives to Tackle Drug Trafficking & Abuse

    • India Initiatives:
      • Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act)
      • The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)
      • Nasha Mukt Bharat: Annual Action Plan (2020-21) for Most Affected Districts
      • National Toll Free drug de-addiction helpline number 
      • Seizure Information Management System
    • Global Initiatives:
      • On 26 June every year, the World Customs Organization (WCO) joins the international community to mark the United Nations’ International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
      • Project AMEAP of INTERPOL: Project AMEAP assists national authorities to identify security threats and tackle organized crime groups engaged in illicit drug trafficking in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia and the Pacific.
      • Conventions: United Nations (UN) Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961), UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971) & UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) 2000.

    Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)

    • The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) was constituted in 1957 as the apex anti-smuggling intelligence and investigation agency functioning under the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) to counter the menace of smuggling in India. 
    • Over the years, DRI has established itself as the premier intelligence agency commanding the trust of international and national agencies with its intelligence inputs on myriad subjects — ranging from fake currency notes, narcotics, gold, arms & ammunition, wildlife, cultural heritage and commercial fraud.
    • DRI enforces the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 and over fifty other allied Acts including the Arms Act, NDPS Act, COFEPOSA (Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities), Wildlife Act, Antiquities Act, etc. 
    • The DRI has also been designated as the lead agency for S-CORD, the national anti-smuggling coordination centre. 
    • It maintains contact with the CBI and INTERPOL.

    Source: PIB