Capacity Building Programme for Police Officers on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling Focus State: Lucknow
28 November 2022 | Sangoshthi Sadan, Police Line, Lucknow
India is a victim of large-scale smuggling and counterfeiting web, entangling not only our legal industry and economy, but also the consumers who are exposed to grave risks to life and security. The costs of these illicit activities are not only real but are huge. FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) has been working concertedly with the enforcement officers across the nation to sensitize them and raise awareness on this very important issue. With this objective, FICCI CASCADE organized the “Capacity Building Programme for Police Officers of Uttar Pradesh on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling” on 28 November 2022 at Lucknow.
Mr. Nilabja Chaudhary, Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime and Hq, Lucknow was the chief guest at the programme. Mr. Chaudhary mentioned that the Police Department plays a significant role in ensuring the protection of legitimate businesses from illicit market operators. He highlighted that the Uttar Pradesh police actively seize products such as fake medicines, currency notes, cigarettes and liquor, which have direct repercussions on the law and order and public health and safety. The police department has seen a renewed spate of counterfeit cases in food and beverage industry in the past few months, particularly counterfeit edible oil at Farrukhabad Mandi.
Mr. Chaudhary accentuated that illicit trade, in terms of counterfeiting and smuggling, is among one of the factors that is impeding growth of the economy in multidimensional ways. He emphasized the need for a continuous dialogue with industry association like FICCI in order to make the public aware about the magnitude of the problem and promote fair trade practices to contribute greater equity in trade. Capacity building programme in terms of skill, infrastructure and technology is essential for the law enforcement agencies in improving the detection and investigation of crimes relating to counterfeiting and smuggling. He suggested that coordinated efforts of the government, industry bodies and enforcement agencies are therefore needed to control the spread of this growing menace.
While giving an overview on socio-economic impact of counterfeiting and smuggling, Mr Deep Chand, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE and Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi stated that the grey market is fueling illegitimate industry which is leading to an increased criminalization in the society. This capacity building program is aimed to sensitize the UP police officers on the importance of continued awareness and seriousness of the impact of counterfeit and smuggled products.
He 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 tax loss to the government due to illicit goods in these industries is 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.
Col Atul Yadav, General Manager- North, Industry Affairs, ITC Ltd. opined that illegal activities such as counterfeiting and smuggling are flooding the market with substandard fake and smuggled products which are produced without following quality norms at unhygienic places, and are sold illegally, thus contributing towards increase in unaccounted money. A major driver for the rampant increase of smuggling is high taxes which create a significant arbitrage to fuel such activities. The extent of smuggling in the country is a cause of great concern. However, to effectively tackle the growing menace of smuggling in India, a lot more needs to be done to make the compliance and processes more robust and detection of such crime easier, he added.
Mr. Gagan Rajpurohit, Legal Counsel, HUL Central Region and Mr. Devesh Pandey, Brand Protection Consultant, HUL discussed about various types of counterfeits products available in the market, how to identify them and the powers of police in search & seizure. They discussed practical challenges faced by the industry and how industry and police can work collaboratively to curb the menace of counterfeiting and smuggling.
Ms. Aashita Agarwal, Manager, Public Policy discussed Amazon’s efforts in mitigating fraud and abuse on marketplaces that hamper customer’s trust. She said that Amazon is committed to promoting and participating in the efforts for ensuring the empowerment of consumers to enjoy the benefits of online shopping while being protected from the risks the digital era may present.
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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