April 27-28, 2023, North-Eastern Police Academy, Umiam, Meghalaya
It is a well-known fact that due to the ease of market entry and potential for infiltration, law enforcement agencies, such as the police, have a crucial responsibility in safeguarding and implementing measures to protect the rights of public. FICCI CASCADE has been actively involved in imparting training to equip law enforcement officials with the knowledge of relevant laws and empower them to take necessary actions against smugglers and counterfeiters. With this objective, FICCI CASCADE organized two-day program on April 27-28, 2023 at the North-Eastern Police Academy to raise awareness among Northeast police officers regarding the necessity of combating the socio-economic harms caused by illicit trade. Illicit trade is a perilous menace to the economy and poses a threat to people’s lives.
Mr. Pawan Kumar Sharma, Deputy Assistant Director, Police Science, NEPA mentioned that tackling the crimes of illicit trade has been a major concern for nations for decades. The north-eastern police forces have always been on their toes to capture the criminals who are operating the illegal market. The police department holds a crucial position in upholding law and order and safeguarding lawful businesses from illicit market operators as the primary law enforcement agency in our nation.
Mr. Sharma stated that at NEPA we are engaged in shaping police officers for equitable, effective and sensitive policing. It is dedicated to teaching the police personnel of Northeastern states and from across the country to safeguard the value of freedom from disorder, criminal acts and criminals.
Mr. P C Jha, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE and Former Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in his address, accentuated that illicit trade has a significant adverse effect on security, environment, health, safety and economy. It is a criminal activity with high profits and low risks. Virtually every illicit product is available in the market without exception. Mr. Jha emphasized that the lack of sufficient penalties and prolonged legal processes for prosecution and adjudication fail to deter illicit market operators effectively.
Practical Aspects of Investigation of Counterfeiting and Smuggling were discussed by Mr. Deep Chand IPS, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE and Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi. He stated that the growing intensity of smuggling and counterfeiting is posing a significant risk for knowledge-based, open & globalized economies. NEPA is one of the best police training academies of India which has been imparting training to the police fraternity of north-east states. The police officers of NEPA are proactive in intercepting the movement of smuggled products and are taking a definitive step towards putting the fear in the hearts of smugglers who deal in illicit trade activities. He appreciated the untiring efforts of the officers for successful interception of products such as illicit cigarettes, liquor, currency, contrabands and many more in the recent past in the Northeastern states.
Industry issues and collaborative actions which are needed to counter such economic offences were discussed by Mr. Pradeep Dixit, Executive Vice President – Industry Affairs, ITC Ltd. and Mr. Milind Palany, Senior Manager, Global Brand Protection, Southern Asia and ANZ Cluster, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health.
“India’s illegal cigarette market is the world’s fourth largest and is expanding rapidly, making it imperative to increase awareness and sensitize individuals within society”, said Mr. Dixit. He also opined that raising widespread awareness among consumers is a crucial way to reduce the dangers associated with the increasing prevalence of illegal trade.
Mr. Palany also addressed illicit activities such as smuggling, counterfeiting and tax evasion as unlawful economic operations. He said that such practices result in reduced government revenues which could be used to fund crucial public services, while simultaneously uprooting millions of lawful jobs and causing harm to both public health and safety. In order to curb the menace of counterfeiting, illicit trade & illegal parallel import, it is important to strengthen enforcement and stop this menace at the border itself, he added.
Mr. Jitender Kumar Dwivedi, Deputy Director, North-Eastern Police Academy accentuated that India, as a rising economic superpower need to take offences related to counterfeiting and smuggling very seriously and police has a significant role in fighting this menace. For, a police officer investigating cases involving smuggling and counterfeiting, it is crucial to comprehend the potential outcomes of their actions on the ground. This understanding is necessary to make informed decisions and take appropriate measures, emphasized Mr. Dwivedi.
The programme witnessed an enthusiastic participation of over 400 officers including (DySPs, cadets and sub inspectors) from different states of Assam, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
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