The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has recently recommended that the National Fund to Control Drug Abuse be used to carry out de-addiction programmes, rather than just policing activities, a top Ministry official said on Sunday.
R. Subrahmanyam, Secretary, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, said the fund, which was created in accordance with a provision of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, had a nominal corpus of Rs. 23 crore.
“It is being used only for policing activities. We recently proposed to add de-addiction to it,” Mr. Subrahmanyam said.
He added that a proposal to decriminalise possession of “small quantities” of drugs, as defined in the NDPS Act, had also been sent to the Department of Revenue under the Finance Ministry. He said his department, which is tasked with conducting de-addiction programmes, would then intervene and have the persons caught with small quantities of drugs for personal use directed to rehab, instead of being prosecuted and sent to jail. Mr. Subrahmanyam said the department had a Rs. 250 crore annual budget for its de-addiction activities.
A retired IPS officer and Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Delhi Police Crime Branch from 1985 to 1990, at a time the NDPS Act was implemented, Amod Kanth, said the Act itself intended to do what the Social Justice Ministry has suggested.
“I agree with their proposal to decriminalise possession of small quantities. The intention of the law is not what the NCB is doing today,” he said, in reference to the NCB’s recent case against Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan.