Capacity Building Programme on Preventive Strategies to Combat Counterfeiting and Smuggling
Focus state: GOA|16th December 2022
Across the globe, illicit networks are infiltrating and corrupting legitimate business markets, reducing productivity, and dis-incentivizing investments, jeopardizing public health and eroding the security of our nation. Illicit trade is an increasingly growing global concern which is threatening India’s legal industry, adding social cost to the consumers and causing huge loss to the exchequers. India today had the potential to become a global manufacturing hub. However, widespread smuggling and counterfeiting act as a dampener in achieving this goal. It is time that India, as a nation and as a part of the global economy, call for strict and resolute enforcement actions against such activities.
Shri Jaspal Singh IPS, Director General of Police, Goa was the chief guest at the programme. Shri Singh informed that awareness is the first step towards enforcement as the problem of trade in illicit products emanates from the lack of awareness. Counterfeiting and Smuggling have developed into a substantial threat to the economy globally, this is the biggest challenge and needs to be addressed at a priority with effective enforcement of laws as a key to curb the menace.
While giving an overview on socio-economic impact of counterfeiting and smuggling, Mr. Deep Chand IPS, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE and Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi stated that lack of stringent enforcement, weak surveillance and weak regulatory framework are the main factors responsible for illicit trade. He opined that the wider social, investment and criminal enforcement costs due to smuggling and counterfeiting could touch $4.2 trillion putting at risk 5.4 million legitimate jobs.
Mr. Chand further stated that as per the FICCI CASCADE’s recent report titled “Illicit Markets: A Threat to Our National Interests”, the unlawful trade in the five key industries (Mobile Phones, FMCG-Household and Personal Goods, FMCG-Packaged Foods, Tobacco Products, and Alcoholic Beverages) results in a total estimated legitimate employment loss of 15.96 lakh. The estimated size of illicit market was ₹2,60,094 crore for the year 2019-20 and the tax loss to the government in these industries was Rs 58,521 crore, with two highly regulated and taxed industries, tobacco products, and alcoholic beverages, accounting for nearly 49% of the overall tax loss.
Mr. Pradeep Dixit, Executive Vice President – Industry Affairs, ITC Ltd. stated that India is the 4th largest and fastest growing market for smuggling of illegal cigarettes, which calls for heightened awareness and sensitization of people in the society. Generating mass awareness amongst the consumers is an important mean to curtail the hazards of growing illicit trade, added Mr Dixit.
Mr. Ashish Sawant, Assistant Manager, Global Brand Protection, APAC Region, Johnson & Johnson highlighted that counterfeit products have a detrimental impact on both the manufacturers and consumers. It poses severe risk to company’s reputation, brand image and negatively affect the consumers’ confidence in the global market. It also affects businesses and consumers alike by sowing mistrust in genuine products made by reputable brands.
Ms. Sucheta Dessai, SP, Goa Police mentioned that smuggled & counterfeit products are a serious concern to the economy and the society at large, hurting the integrity of the brand, reducing employment opportunities and most importantly, threating health and safety. There is vital need for the policy makers, enforcement agencies and industry to be on the front foot, to tackle it.
FICCI CASCADE has been over the years working closely with government, industry, enforcement officials, legal fraternity, consumer organizations and the youth to create awareness on the adverse impact of the problem of counterfeiting and smuggling. Among other activities, FICCI CASCADE has been regularly engaging with law enforcement agencies including police, customs and paramilitary organizations engaged in border protection in sensitizing them on the gravity of the problem.
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