Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday said that a new drone policy will be unveiled soon entailing a host of restrictions and compulsory registration of all unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
He was responding to a suggestion made by Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann at a conference on drug-trafficking that registration of drones be made compulsory as they were being used for cross-border delivery of weapons and narcotics. Mr. Mann said that since 2019, a total 491 drone sightings have been observed and 51 drones have been neutralised or recovered in Punjab.
At the regional conference on ‘Drug Trafficking and National Security’ held on Monday, Mr. Shah asked the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to step up the coordination meetings at district levels.
The Home Minister said that the government has established the Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD) in 2019, which holds meetings at four different levels. He said that district-level NCORD meetings have proven to be the most effective. He emphasised that States should collaborate with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on financial investigations and refer the cases to the probe agency.
“Until we conduct financial investigations of drug traffickers and break their interest chain, our campaign will not be successful,” he said.
The meeting was conducted in hybrid mode. The Chief Ministers of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttarakhand, the Governor of Punjab and the Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieutenant Governors of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Delhi attended the conference.
Mr. Shah said that States should establish specialised courts against drugs and conduct their prosecution in a fast-track mode. He said that harsher punishment would act as stronger deterrent, adding that the confiscation of assets of those involved in the illicit drug trade should be increased. He emphasised that public shaming/boycott of these individuals would discourage others from joining this trade.