of opium for medicinal purposes in India can be traced back as far back as
1000 AD where it finds mention in ancient texts such as “Dhanwantri Nighantu”
as a remedy for variety of ailments. . In Emperor Akbar time (1543 to 1605)
opium was cultivated extensively in the Malwa (in MP) and Mewar (in
Rajasthan) regions. The opium poppy contains alkaloids such as morphine,
codeine, thebaine, narcotine, papavarine which have analgesic, anti-tussive
and anti-spasmodic properties.
During the British East
India Company Rule, collection of revenue from opium was made part of fiscal
policy and various Opium Agencies such as the Bengal, Benaras, Bihar, Malwa
Agencies were formed over time. Prior to 1950, the administration of the
Narcotics Laws, namely, the Opium Act of 1857 & 1878 and the Dangerous Drugs
Act 1930 vested with the Provincial Government. The amalgamation of these
Agencies laid the foundation of the Opium Department in November, 1950 which
is presently known as Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN). The headquarters of Central Bureau of Narcotics
from Shimla to Gwalior in 1960.
All the three
enactments mentioned above were repealed by the Narcotics Drugs &
Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act, 1985).
The responsibilities of CBN cover:
- Supervision over licit cultivation of opium poppy In India
spread across 22 Districts 102 Tehsils/ Parganas in the States of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan
and Uttar Pradesh.
- Preventive and enforcement functions
especially in the three poppy growing States.
- Investigation of cases under the NDPS Act,
1985 and filing of complaint in the Court.
- Action for tracing and freezing of illegally
acquired property as per the provisions of Chapter V-A of the NDPS Act,
- Issue of licences for manufacture of
synthetic narcotic drugs
- Issuance of Export Authorisations/ Import Certificate for export/
import of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances
- Issuance of No Objection Certificate (NOC) for import/ export of a select number of Precursor
- Import of Poppy Seeds are permitted only
from Australia, Austria, France, China, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland,
Slovenia, Spain Turkey and Czech Republic on production of an appropriate
certificate from the Competent Authority of the exporting country that the
opium have been grown licitly/ legally in that country. All import
contracts for this item shall compulsory be registered with the Narcotics
Commissioner, Gwalior prior to import.
- India is a signatory to the UN Convention
on Narcotic Drugs 1961, UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 &
UN Convention against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances, 1988 which obligates member countries to monitor the
implementation of the United Nations drug control conventions. CBN
interacts with the International Narcotics
Control Board, Vienna and the Competent Authorities of other countries
to verify genuiness of the transaction prior to authorizing the shipments.