December 20, 2022
Kalyan Banerjee (Lok Sabha) speaking on 20.12.22 during the discussion under Rule 193 on the problem of drug abuse in India and the steps being taken by the government
Sir, it is a position that is acceptable in the country. Everyone will accept that. India is facing a great problem and a great challenge to curb drug abuse. It is an acceptable position. There is no blame game in play. This is the position in which we must confront the situation in the country. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime World Report of 2022 estimated that around 284 million people use drugs worldwide. The report also claims that India is one of the world’s single largest opiate users. Youth in India are among the most affected by drug abuse. I am sorry to say that more than 60 percent of the illicit drugs seized in India are from Punjab. According to the study, more addicts are between the ages of 15 and 35, and many are unemployed. Although it has been said, I want to make it very clear that India is sandwiched between the two largest opium producing regions of the world. That is, the Golden Triangle is on one side, and the Golden Crescent is on the other side. Now, the Golden Crescent area includes Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. And the Golden Triangle area comprises Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Laos. During the National Household Survey, more than 40,000 men and boys, aged between 12 and 16, were interviewed. Studies looked at drug misuse among women, prison inmates, and the rural population in the border area. Each state bears responsibility. However, in the case of smuggling from other countries into India, the Central Government must accept responsibility for preventing these smugglings. We are talking about so many ways and means. How do I stop it? We can give a number of suggestions on how to build, how to educate our children, how to educate young generation, etc. But crime has to be prevented at the root itself. If it is not prevented at the source, then simply educating the young generation and others will not suffice. Who are the parents in the country? These parents are among us. Which parent does not teach their children that no, you must be on the correct path, you do not mix up with these types of people or this category of people? Despite the fact that every parent gives good education and good lessons to their children, unfortunately, these youngsters, who are in the adolescent age, are on the wrong path. Why are they on the wrong path? It is because there are many attractions. In the field, it is not only the drugs; abuse of drugs also brings different colours of crimes. The crime has to be stopped. The first preventive step to take is that the Central Government has to stop this smuggling itself. Everyone should cooperate with the Central Government. I am not making any remark against anybody but this is my suggestion. This has not been happening for one year, two years or five years. This has not been happening because of this Chief Minister or that Chief Minister. It has been going on for decades. Who was in power in 2004? The survey report of 2018 is with us. The cases are increasing. We have failed. This is not a credit. We have not prevented it. We could not educate our children. This is our fault. This is the fault of the older generation that they cannot teach their children the correct path. Why are such attractions there? Why are there so many cabarets? Why are there so many hotels where children go and stay from evening to midnight? They stay late night also. This is going on and we have failed to stop it. The practical thing is that we have to accept this proposition. I will just give you some statistics on it. As per the Comprehensive National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in Indiaconducted in 2018, there is 26 per cent increase in the cases of drug abuse reported in previous decades. Whom will I blame? I will blame the present Government only. Governments after Governments have failed to stop it. Now, the time has come where this Government should stop it. It should be prevented at any cost. It is not the fault of any particular Government. We will blame this Government or that Government. No, we have failed it. The name of the substance is cannabis whose estimated number of users from age 10 to 17 years is 20 lakhs, and from 18 to 75 years is 2,90,80,000 in our country. The estimated number of users of opiates from 10 to 17 years is 40 lakhs. The number of users of sedative is 20 lakhs; of inhalants is 30 lakhs; of cocaine is two lakhs; and of ATS is four lakhs. These are the figures for people aged from 10 to 17 years. The data pertaining to people aged from 18 to 75 years: the number of users of opiates is 1,86,44,000; of sedative is 5,80,000; of inhalants is 51,25,000; of cocaine is 9,40,000; and of ATS is 15,47,000. Now, applying estimates of prevalence to population figure, the survey estimated that India whose population is over a billion, 62.5 million people use alcohol, 8.75 million people use cannabis, two million people use opiate, and 0.6 million people use sedative or hypnotics. Around 17 to 26 per cent people are classified as dependent users who need urgent treatment, says the report. There are cases of domestic violence coming into the court. When we hear about those cases, it gives us pain. In almost 75 to 80 per cent domestic violence cases, the women are suffering because of their husband’s drug addiction. It is the present scenario of our country. It has to be stopped at any cost. If we really wish that India should progress and our young generation should take our India to a larger extent in the world, we have to stop it. Our young generation has to be saved by any means. If a more coercive step has to be taken and a more coercive law has to be brought, it has to be done. If we do that, we will be able to save our youths from this menace. I will tell you very honestly, I cry sometimes remembering why women of our country suffer from so much of domestic violence. Every day, some victim of domestic violence comes and cries. In most of the cases, the cause is drug addiction. I will refer to one case without giving details. One of the richest men in Kolkata married. Rs. 7 crore had to be spent by the bride’s father. Within one year and fifteen days, the woman died an unnatural death. Do you know the reason? He was one of the richest men of Kolkata, an Oxford-educated person, coming from a cultured background, having access to Ministers of State and Central Governments. She died because of the drug-addict husband. I do not want to quote the language that was used. I have seen all that. I am seeing such incidents every day. This has to be stopped. Sir, currently India does not have a system of national or local monitoring for drug misuse. Dr. Rajat Roy, Head of the Centre of Behavioural Sciences at the AIIMS, New Delhi said this. The present scenario of Indian society has entirely changed compared to the earlier times. Now in the urban areas the families are getting nuclear. That is also one of the great problems. There is a need to build enough treatment centres. It has already been suggested. That is a policy which has to be formulated by the Government. We are happy that the hon. Home Minister is present here. Of course, he will take all correct and positive steps. Prevention is one aspect. There is another aspect which is very sad. Application of NDPS Act in a proper manner is always appreciated. But misuse of the provisions of NDPS Act should be deprecated. It is common scenario now that if you want to pick up someone, file an FIR against him under the NDPS Act. We know that if an FIR is lodged against someone under the NDPS Act, the accused does not have scope to get anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the CrPC. He has to surrender first and then to prove that he was not involved in the case. The burden of proof is shifted to the accused. In several cases, misuse of the Act is taking place. When they are not getting any cases and the superior officer asks them to fulfil the target, they pick up someone and file an NDPS case. This is being done. … (Interruptions) Sir, hon. Home Minister is sitting here. A few weeks ago, I was not aware that in Gujarat also alcohol is banned. I was not aware. One client came to me from Ahmedabad itself three or four weeks back, just before the Gujarat elections. I asked, after the Conference, what is the situation in Gujarat, etc., etc. Then he said that in Gujarat, alcohol is banned, but home delivery of alcohol is available in Gujarat itself, in Ahmedabad itself. Sometimes, you learn to have the degree of tolerance, to face the reality. It is not that I am blaming someone. It is happening. It is whose responsibility; that is not the point. Industry bandh is not the issue.