New Delhi :The President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind presented the “Fourth National Awards for outstanding services in the field of Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse” to the institutions and individuals on the occasion of ‘International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking’ at a function organized by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi today. Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Ministers of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar, Shri Ramdas Athawale, Shri Vijay Sampla and Secretary, M/o SJ&E Smt. Neelam Sawhney graced the occasion. State Government Officials, NGOs, National and International organizations working in this field, Students from Colleges & Schools, professionals & experts and Personnel from Para Military Forces also attended the function.
Addressing on the occasion, the President said that the problem of drugs addiction and alcoholism negatively impacts the individual, family and society in multiple domains such as health, culture, development and politics. Drug addiction spurs poverty and also poses a challenge to our national security as well as to our development and public welfare goals.He said that our geographical location between Myanmar-Laos-Thailand’s ‘Golden Triangle’ and Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan’s ‘Golden Crescent’, makes the problem of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking even more acute and complicated. Increase in drug trafficking and drug abuse in the border areas is also associated with issues of terrorism and political unrest. That is why there is a need to be more vigilant in Border States like Punjab and Manipur.
The President said that misuse of illegal drugs is creating health challenges especially for the young generation and school going children. He stated that the problem of drug abuse can be solved by awareness, prevention, incentives, and support efforts. In these efforts compassion and sympathy for the drug addicts is also necessary. Parents, teachers, doctors, voluntary organizations should be associated in the medical and rehabilitation efforts. He expressed his happiness that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has taken necessary steps in these directions. Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, in his address said that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has set up a National Toll Free Drug De-Addiction Helpline Number-1800110031 to help the victims of drug abuse, their family and society at large and it is functional 24×7. The Ministry uses print, electronic and social media for creating awareness. The Ministry has started an online system for processing of Grant-in-Aid to Voluntary Organizations (VOs)/Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) from the financial year 2014-15. At present, approximately 400 Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts (IRCAs) are being run across the country with support from this Ministry. About one lakh drug/alcohol addicts are benefitted every year under the Scheme.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment celebrates 26th June every year as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The Government of India has instituted a Scheme of the National Awards for outstanding services in the field of prevention of Alcoholism & Substance (Drug) Abuse from the year 2013. The Awards were earlier conferred annually till 2014. However, the Scheme of the Award has now been revised and the Awards are now conferred biennially. The Scheme is applicable to Institutions and individuals working in the field of Prevention of Drug and Alcoholism Abuse. So far, three National Awards presentation functions have been successfully conducted on 26th June, 2013, 26th June 2014 and 26th June, 2016.
Nominations for the year 2018 were invited by publishing advertisements in the newspaper and writing letters to all the State/UT Governments, concerned Ministries in seven different categories. A National Selection Committee under the chairmanship of Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment considered the shortlisted nominations by the Screening Committee and approved the names of the awardees.