India on Thursday, sought strengthening of SAARC monitoring desks on terrorism and drugs, underlining that illicit funds generated from narcotics and fake currency networks are being fed into supporting terror activities.
Terming drug abuse a grave challenge, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the SAARC Interior Ministers that it is a problem which is connected with all types of organised crime.
“Today, drug business generates the highest illegal fund flows. Trafficking of drugs, coupled with the problem of increasing circulation of fake currency, feeds into supporting terrorism and can create economic de-stabilisation in our region,” Singh said at the seventh SAARC Interior Ministers’ conference in Islamabad.
He said that towards implementation of the Regional Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, India has offered its full support and cooperation by way of capacity building and training programmes.
“There is also a felt need to achieve the full potential of the SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk and the SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk,” he said.
The SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk, established in Colombo in 1995, collates, analyses and disseminates information about such crimes, tactics of terror groups, their strategies and methods. SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk is a similar desk established in Colombo in 1992 focussing on activities of narcotics traffickers.
Singh also highlighted signature schemes of Modi Government like ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ asking the SAARC countries to give due priority to safety and security of women and children.
“Safety and security of women and children will determine the well-being and strength of our nations. It is timely and relevant that SAARC has accorded due priority to this area of cooperation, since new threats are emerging with increasing access to information technology and the changing nature of global economy,” Singh said.
The Home Minister said that in India, number of new initiatives such as the ‘Track Child’ national portal and ‘Operation Smile’ have been taken to rescue children.
“We shared our experience at the Ministerial Meeting of the South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children, which we were privileged to host recently. Our Prime Minister had launched the flagship ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’
programme,” Singh said.
He said the scheme has rapidly expanded and has started contributing to ensuring the survival, protection, education and empowerment of the girl child.
“Since this august forum also discusses our cooperation against corruption, I would like to mention that achieving greater transparency and good governance is a cornerstone of our policy,” the Minister said.
He said that through financial inclusion scheme ‘Jan Dhan Yoyana’ that leverages world’s largest biometric Unique ID system Aadhar, and Direct Benefit Transfers, India has been able to transform services delivery to ensure that benefits of public schemes reach the grass-root levels.