24-25 SEPTEMBER, 2023

by | Sep 25, 2023

Unveiling of Adi Shankaracharya’s Statue in Omkareshwar, Madhya Pradesh:

  1. Statue of Oneness: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan inaugurated a 108-foot-tall ‘Statue of Oneness’ of Adi Shankaracharya in Omkareshwar on September 21.
  2. Depiction of Adi Shankaracharya: The statue portrays Adi Shankaracharya as a 12-year-old child, symbolizing his visit to Omkareshwar.
  3. Investment in Development: The government invested Rs 2,200 crore to develop Omkareshwar, which is expected to become an essential part of the tourism circuit along with Ujjain, Maheshwar, and Mandu.
  4. Adi Shankaracharya: Adi Shankaracharya, who lived between 788 and 820 AD, was a proponent of Advaita Vedanta and visited various spiritual centers across India during his 32-year lifespan. He authored 116 works, including commentaries on the Upanishads, Brahmasutra, and the Gita.
  5. Mandhata Island: Mandhata Island on the Narmada River houses two of the 12 Jyotirlingas – Omkareshwara and Amareshwara. It is surrounded by temples of various traditions, and the name ‘Omkareshwar’ derives from its shape, resembling the sacred syllable ‘Om’.
  6. Significance of Jyotirlingas: Jyotirlingas are manifestations of Lord Shiva, and there are 12 such sites in India, including Omkareshwar.
  7. Project Conceptualization: CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced the statue’s construction in 2017. A metal collection drive was conducted, and Larsen and Toubro was awarded the contract in 2022.
  8. Statue Details: The 108-foot-tall statue stands atop a 54-foot pedestal and is made of bronze with an internal steel structure. It was conceptualized by Indian artists and sculptors and cast in China.
  9. Ekatma Dham: The project includes Ekatma Dham, featuring the Advaita Lok museum, showcasing Acharya Shankar’s life and philosophy. It incorporates various architectural styles and exhibits.
  10. Cultural Boat Ride: Ekatma Dham will have an audio-visual cultural boat ride, Advaita Narmada Vihar, taking visitors through the teachings of Acharya Shankar and other Indian preceptors of Advaita.

This project aims to promote tourism, celebrate the legacy of Adi Shankaracharya, and become a prominent cultural and religious destination in Madhya Pradesh.

Source : Indian Express

Challenges Persist in Achieving Drug-Free Punjab Despite Government Efforts

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s ambitious goal to make Punjab drug-free by the next Independence Day faces formidable challenges. Despite years of efforts, the state still grapples with substance abuse and drug-related deaths.

Key Points:

  1. Persistent Drug Problem: Despite various government initiatives and the formation of the anti-drug special task force (STF) in April 2017, Punjab continues to struggle with drug abuse and overdose deaths.
  2. Alarming Statistics: Since the AAP came into power in March last year, there have been at least 184 drug-related deaths with FIRs filed against drug peddlers under Section 304 of the IPC. Many cases remain unreported due to families avoiding post-mortems or police involvement.
  3. Youth Affected: Substance abuse is particularly rampant among individuals aged 18-35, causing social disruption, increased crime rates, and straining healthcare facilities and prisons.
  4. Enforcement Actions: The Punjab government launched a ‘Decisive War Against Drugs’ in July 2022, resulting in the arrest of 19,093 drug smugglers and peddlers. This crackdown has led to overcrowding in prisons.
  5. Challenges in Rehabilitation: Despite enforcement successes, more needs to be done in terms of de-addiction, rehabilitation, and prevention. Experts emphasize the need for awareness and improved treatment options.
  6. Immunity for Addicts: While the previous government talked about granting immunity to addicts seeking medical treatment, no concrete steps have been taken in this direction.
  7. Women’s Rehabilitation: A government-run de-addiction center exclusively for women, Nav Kiran Kendra, has witnessed increased enrollment, highlighting the need for specialized support for female addicts.
  8. Conviction Rate Improves: The conviction rate for drug-related cases has improved to 80.7%, with actions taken against police personnel involved in drug-related activities.
  9. Seizure of Drones: Authorities have seized 65 drones used for smuggling narcotics, weapons, and currency from Pakistan into Punjab since March 2022.
  10. Challenges in Buprenorphine Treatment: Although thousands are registered in de-addiction programs, concerns regarding the ongoing utilisation of Buprenorphine in opioid substitution therapy..
  11. Preventive Initiatives: Programs like the Drug Abuse Prevention Officer (Dapo) and buddy program aim to prevent drug abuse at the community level but face questions regarding their effectiveness.

Image Source: TOI 

Aspect Indian Drug Laws International Drug Control Conventions
Relevant Legislation Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
  1. The United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961
  2. The United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971
  3. The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988
Classification of Substances Schedules based on potential for abuse and medical use Classification of controlled substances into schedules based on abuse potential and medical use as per conventions
Offenses Illegal possession, production, sale, financing of illicit trafficking, cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy, among others Offenses related to trafficking, manufacturing, and possession of controlled substances
Punishments Imprisonment and fines; severity depends on quantity and specific offense Varies by country and convention, but includes criminal penalties
Regulatory Authorities Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) National drug enforcement agencies; International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) monitors compliance with international conventions
Treatment and Rehabilitation Establishment of treatment and rehabilitation centers Encouragement of treatment and rehabilitation efforts
Forfeiture of Property Empowers authorities to seize and forfeit assets from drug-related activities No specific provision for forfeiture in conventions
Exemptions for Medical and Scientific Use Provisions for medical and scientific purposes, including controlled substances like buprenorphine Provisions for medical and scientific purposes under strict regulation
Cannabis and Opium Poppy Strict regulation and penalties for cultivation Prohibition of cultivation for recreational use; regulated cultivation for medical and research purposes
Buprenorphine Used in medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, subject to strict regulations Controlled substance used in medication-assisted treatment under international conventions; subject to strict medical regulation
International Cooperation India cooperates with other countries to combat drug trafficking Member of international conventions and cooperates on drug control efforts


Summarising here:

Key Data Points Summary
Number of drug-related deaths since AAP came to power At least 184 deaths with FIRs under Section 304 of IPC against drug peddlers
Age group most affected by substance abuse Individuals aged 18-35 experiencing alarming levels of substance abuse
Enforcement actions 19,093 drug smugglers and peddlers arrested with an average of 45 daily; 14,179 FIRs registered
Overcrowding in prisons 117% average overcrowding; some prisons accommodating inmates twice their capacity
Conviction rate for drug-related cases Improved to 80.7%, with actions against police personnel involved in drug activities
Drones seized for smuggling 65 drones confiscated since March 2022, used for smuggling narcotics, weapons, and currency from Pakistan
Challenges with Buprenorphine treatment Concerns about continued use of Buprenorphine in opioid-substitution therapy
Preventive Initiatives Dapo and buddy programs aim to prevent drug abuse at the community level but face questions on efficacy


In conclusion, while Punjab has made strides in law enforcement against drug-related activities, addressing the root causes of addiction and improving rehabilitation remain significant challenges on the path to a drug-free Punjab.

Source: Times of India

Written By Vishakha Khatri

My name is Vishakha Khatri. I am an engineering graduate and a civil service aspirant with a passion for spreading knowledge about Indian polity. I believe that understanding our political system is crucial for every citizen, and I am committed to making this information accessible to everyone in my own easy way. Through my experiences in civil service preparation and my unique perspective as an engineering graduate, I hope to inspire and educate others on the importance of Indian polity.

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