In Conversation with Mr. Maurice Emiola Adéfalou, Technical Officer, IPR, and Health and Safety Programme Manager in Compliance, WCO
11 October 2021 | 2:30 – 3:30 pm IST
Illicit trade in terms of counterfeiting and smuggling make up a vast ‘global businesses’, representing a multibillion-dollar illegal industry that creates a significant drain on the world economy. FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) is organizing a series of virtual interactions with esteemed guests who have the knowledge and expertise on various topics pertaining to the subject of illicit trade.
Next in the series is an ‘In Conversation with Mr. Maurice Emiola Adéfalou, Technical Officer, IPR, and Health and Safety Programme Manager in Compliance, WCO’ scheduled for 11th October 2021 at 2:30 pm.
The session will throw light on cross-border trafficking of goods and products, initiatives taken by WCO to arrest this problem and the need for effective collaborations in mitigating this challenge.
Mr. Najib Shah, Former Chairman, CBIC and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE will be moderating the interaction with Mr. Maurice Emiola Adéfalou.
Watch the session at: https://youtu.be/b7-Zl5NXZtsLear More
Capacity Building Programme for State Excise Officials on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling
Focus State: Rajasthan
15 September 2021 | Medium: VIRTUAL
The magnitude of the problem of counterfeiting, smuggling and piracy is widespread which demands emphasis and priority of enforcement agencies. Capacity building is an ongoing exercise that plays an instrumental role in motivating and enabling the law enforcement strategies to understand the gravity of the problem and take requisite actions against the perpetrators.
It is with the above background that FICCI CASCADE is organizing a capacity building programme for the excise officials of Rajasthan to sensitize the officers on the socio-economic impact of illicit and spurious sales, facilitate better engagement from the industry to support the officers in preventing this menace.Lear More
FICCI CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy) organized a capacity building programme on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling for the police officers of Jammu and Kashmir on 20th August 2021. Dr S. D. Singh IPS, ADGP, Director, Sher-I-Kashmir Police Academy, Udhampur was the chief guest at the programme. During his keynote address he said, “Counterfeiting and smuggling not only poses serious threat to the health and safety of the consumers but also endangers the national security. This problem holds special concern for us as the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, which is particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of illicit trade, due to hostile the neighbouring nations”.
Highlighting the issue of smuggled and counterfeit goods in the region, Dr Singh said, that the officers of the Jammu and Kashmir police were committed to curb this menace and have a strong hold on the situation. He further added that in recent times they have seized large quantity of fake sanitizers along with huge consignments of illicit cigarettes, alcohol and FMCG products.
During the session, Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor FICCI CASCADE and Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi presented an overview on the socio-economic threat of counterfeiting and smuggling. He explained how the police department, being the primary law enforcement agency in the country, play a significant role in ensuring the protection of legitimate businesses from counterfeiters and smugglers. He shared various international and national case studies, police actions against counterfeiters and smugglers, the set of relevant laws, methods adopted by illicit traders, among others, to sensitize the officers of the magnitude of the menace and highlight their role in the fight against counterfeiters and smugglers.
Some of the key recommendations at the programme included, need for an Inter-ministerial set up for cooperation and coordination to effectively combat smuggling and counterfeiting; expeditious investigation of cases; ensuring prosecution in a time-bound manner; training and capacity building of police officers to investigate such cases; rigorous imprisonment and stringent monetary penalty among others. Moreover, effective coordination between central and state agencies, strengthening domestic manufacturing, addressing the demand and supply gap and rigorous enforcement were also emphasized upon as key elements needed to make a conducive environment, free of illicit markets.
One of FICCI CASCADE’s mandate is capacity building of law enforcement agencies including Police, Customs and Paramilitary Forces. It has worked extensively and intensively in this area organizing training programmes and seminars along with continuous interactions with the law enforcement authorities to emphasize on the importance of continued awareness and seriousness of the impact of counterfeit and smuggled goods. The capacity building programme in the Sher-I-Kashmir Police Academy, Udhampur sensitized over 100 officers on the growing dimensions of illicit trade activities through smuggling and counterfeiting detrimental for economy, public health, genuine producers as well as customers.
Mr. Rajesh Sharma, Co-chair, FICCI Jammu & Kashmir State Council and CEO, Skipper Overseas Ltd, in his concluding address, said that India’s economy and public safety continued to suffer from the ill effects of widespread smuggling and counterfeiting, Therefore, arresting this menace is vital. He urged the support of all the stakeholders, especially the police force in thwarting this threat to the nation.Lear More
Border forces are critical stakeholders in combating cross border illegal trading activities. On one hand, while open borders facilitate travel and trade, they also make border control more challenging due to the emerging new forms of cross border crimes. Hence, it becomes vital that officers at the borders are prepared to identify possible suspects and their victims in such ill-intentioned crimes. To understand and deliberate on issues of cross-border smuggling in India, preparedness of the government and initiatives taken by Assam Rifles to combat this menace, Lt Gen Pradeep Chandran Nair, AVSM, YSM, DG, Assam Rifles joined for an ‘In Conversation Series’ programme of FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) on 17th August 2021. This initiative is a unique forum where eminent guests and subject matter experts discuss and share insights on the various facets of illicit trade, through an interesting, candid conversation.
During the conversation Lt Gen P C Nair said, “Assam Rifles as the Border Guarding Force has been at the helm of affairs to counter the illegal trade along the 1643 km of porous and unfenced border of India-Myanmar. The whole region is of great importance from the economic and strategic point of view and will determine the future growth and development of the region provided necessary steps and initiatives as designed are executed under the ACT EAST POLICY”.
Speaking on the menace of smuggling and illicit trade, Lt Gen P C Nair said, “the Force in the year 2020 seized Rs 857 Cr of illegally traded goods and in 2021, it has already seized illegal goods worth Rs 746 Cr. approx. These seizures are despite the ongoing trade which is alarming and overwhelming, detrimental to national development and India’s Act East Policy”.
He further added that Assam Rifles continues to honour & execute the given mandate in letter and spirit and takes pride in being one of the finest outfits of the nation. The Force is committed to working in synergy with all Central and State agencies to combat illegal trade and smuggling towards its rightful end.
Mr. Deep Chand, Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi, and Advisor, FICCI CASCADE while in conversation with Lt Gen P C Nair said “Illicit trade across the borders is impacting the social fabric of nations; India in particular is a victim of large-scale smuggling. This web of illicit trade has entangled not only the legal industry and governments, but also the consumers who are exposed to grave risks to life and security”.
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE welcomed the guests and congratulated Lt Gen P C Nair and the brave hearts of his force who have been determined to protect the infiltration of illicit goods into our country while maintaining security across the borders. He emphasised that the proactive vigilance of the officers of Assam Rifles in intercepting the movement of smuggled goods was a definitive step towards putting fear in the hearts of those who dealt in such illicit trading. Highlighting the linkages of organised crime and illicit trade, Mr Rajput expressed his concern on how the proceeds from illicit trade were increasingly becoming the main source of terror funding. He emphasised on the need to understand this relationship and to work towards effective mechanisms to counter its impact.
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.
Watch the session at: https://youtu.be/o81nEVVJk9sLear More
FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) organized a Capacity Building Programme on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling for the officers of West Bengal Police on 3rd August 2021. Chief Guest at the programme, Dr. Debasish Roy, IPS ADG, Training, West Bengal Police, said “Despite various anti-counterfeiting strategies, like raids, use of multiple packaging technologies, consumer education and consultations with government agencies the menace of smuggling and counterfeiting is on the rise.” He further added that frequent seizures of contraband items such as cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and pharmaceuticals along with illegal imports of clothing were causing economic crisis leading to unemployment and poverty.
There are adequate laws available but enforcement of the laws makes the role of police officers very important to fight against counterfeiting, and smuggling.
Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor FICCI CASCADE and Former Special Commissioner of Delhi Police, presented an overview of the socio-economic threat of smuggling and counterfeiting. In his presentation he highlighted how the grey market economy was fueling illegitimate industry, leading to increased criminalization of the society in the form of organized crime including terrorism. He said, “This capacity building programme is aimed to sensitize police officers to emphasize on the importance of continued awareness and seriousness of the impact of counterfeit and smuggled goods.’
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE, in his welcome remarks stated, “The Police department is the primary law enforcement agency in our country and plays a significant role in ensuring the protection of legitimate businesses from illicit players. Although there are adequate laws available, their enforcement makes the role of police officers even more important in the fight against counterfeiters and smugglers.” Complimenting the officials of the police department, he further said that during the Covid19 pandemic, our officers had been playing a crucial part in contributing to the effort to control the menace, promoting safer communities, and fighting criminals who were taking advantage of the outbreak.
Some of the key recommendations that emerged during the programme included capacity building in terms of skill, infrastructure and technology among the law enforcement agencies in improving the detection and investigation of crimes; need for additional manpower with the desired aptitude to be provided in special cells, District Investigation Units, Economic Offences Wing who could focus exclusively on the investigation of such cases; severe extant bail provisions; non-bailable offence for repeat offenders; rigorous imprisonment and stringent monetary penalty, among others.
All speakers unanimously agreed that the issue of illicit trade needs to be addressed as a high priority issue for the government. An orchestrated strategy including communication, coordination and close cooperation among various government agencies, law enforcement officials and private sector to combat this menace is imperative. The programme saw participation of several officers of West Bengal Police from Bankura, Islampur, Jagipur, Uttar Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Mednipur, Jhargam, Siliguri and Birbhum.
FICCI CASCADE has been successful in stirring an active debate on the topic nationally through various awareness programmes. Among other activities, FICCI CASCADE has been organizing capacity building programs for police officers in various states, focusing on economic offences such as counterfeiting and smuggling, equipping the officers to understand the laws and take requisite action against counterfeiters and smugglers. In pursuance of its mandate, FICCI-CASCADE will continue to hold similar programmes across the country in briefing enforcement agencies on procedural and enforcement issues while tackling illicit trading activities.Lear More
Capacity Building Programme for State Excise Officials on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling
FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy) organised a capacity building programme on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling for the excise officers of Odisha on July 22, 2021. Mr. PC Jha, Advisor FICCI CASCADE and Former Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs gave an Overview on Socio-Economic Impact of Counterfeiting & Smuggling, he said that “The pandemic saw a huge setback for the manufacturing sector including the alcohol industry. This unfortunately resulted in less availability of licit products and the gap being filled by counterfeited substandard goods causing greater harm to the life and health of the people.”
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE in his welcome address said that “Implementing effective solutions to the complex problems of counterfeiting and smuggling will require cooperation and innovation from the government, enforcement machinery and industry working closely together.” Thanking the officers from the Odisha Excise Department, he stated that their presence is a testimony to the commitment of the Odisha Excise Department in dealing with the rising menace.
During the session, representatives from the alcohol industry highlighted the various challenges pertaining to counterfeit alcohol in India, be it in the form of refilled branded bottles or using counterfeit packaging or forged tax stamps. The workshop was also helpful in sensitizing the officers on the collaborative role which industry and enforcement can play in thwarting this problem.
Illicit markets have broad economy-wide effects on trade, investment, employment, innovation, criminality, environment, and most importantly, on the health and safety of the consumers. Over and above, it also has a negative impact on the brand image and loss of revenue for industry and governments. In the alcoholic beverage industry, the industry is facing a huge issue of the production of alcohol under non-standard conditions which are much more harmful and life threatening. FICCI CASCADE in an earlier report has stated that the grey market of the alcohol industry is about 16.7%, incurring Rs 14,140 crore loss to industry and Rs 6,309 crore tax loss to the government.Lear More
Webinar on Policies and Strategies to Prevent Counterfeiting and Smuggling- Be Vocal for Local and Prevent Illicit Trade
Illegal trade in counterfeited and smuggled goods dampens the economy in multidimensional ways. It can cost any economy billions of dollars, funds organized crime, and damages the country’s international reputation. It destabilizes the legal industry, restrains innovation and investments, reduces government revenues and hampers the health and safety of the consumers. This threat has been on the rise since the onslaught of the pandemic which hit the world in 2020. On one hand while the government, voluntary organisations and the corporate sector are working relentlessly to fight and contain the pandemic, on the other, those involved in illegal activities such as counterfeiting, smuggling, black marketing etc. are taking advantage to exploit the miseries of the teeming millions by dealing in spurious and duplicate healthcare and consumer essentials.
The current environment most certainly presented a new opportunity for all stakeholders to tackle this long-standing problem. It is in this background that FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE), organized a webinar on “Policies and Strategies to Prevent Counterfeiting and Smuggling” on 9th July 2021 focusing on Jammu and Kashmir.
Shri Ranjan Prakash Thakur, IRTS, Principal Secretary, Department of Industries and Commerce, Govt of Jammu and Kashmir was the Chief Guest at the programme. Mr. Thakur in his keynote address said, “Illicit trade is a grave concern, it undermines the nation’s economy, affects the health of the citizens and needs to be addressed on an urgent basis. Adequate priority needs to be placed across the government department in J&K, be it enforcement, training, or consumer awareness in addressing this issue”.
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE in his welcome address said, “illicit products have infiltrated everyday avenues of commerce, making their way into supply chains and consumers’ homes, thereby threatening manufacturers’ competitiveness, undermining consumer confidence and posing a threat to individuals’ health and safety”. Congratulating the work of the enforcement authorities, he said, “while smugglers and counterfeiters are exploiting the current situation by supplying illicit alternative of products, the alert enforcement authorities in J&K have uncovered and arrested people engaged in illicit trade of liquor, cigarettes, currency, drugs, sanitizers and much more”.
Speaking on specific issues in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Irfan Ahmed Guju, Chairman, FICCI J&K State Council and MD I A Multi Venture Pvt Ltd said,” Counterfeiting and smuggling are lucrative business that take advantage of unwitting consumers and simply exploits their financial position. An orchestrated strategy including communication, coordination and close cooperation amongst various government agencies, law enforcement officials and private sector to combat this menace is imperative.”
A panel comprising of representatives on government representatives and industry deliberated on the problem areas and possible solutions to mitigate this challenge. Mr. Mohd Akbar, Joint Director, Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs was of the opinion that large scale consumer awareness through the help of print and electronic media needs to be created which will sensitize the public on this menace. Ms. Irfana Ahmed, Deputy Drug Controller, Kashmir shared the various initiatives of the department to thwart the danger of availability of spurious drugs and stated that in last few years, almost 23 drugs were found to be spurious in the UT and 70-80 percent cases were prosecuted. Mr. Laeeq Ahmad, Deputy Director Prosecution, Crime Headquarters, Jammu & Kashmir Police highlighted that during the year 2020, they have seized around 3 lakh 87 thousand intoxicated capsules, fake injections and syrups. Moreover, in the year 2018, 2019 & 2020, 15, 24 & 26 cases were also registered under the copyright act at various police stations of Jammu & Kashmir UT. Mr. Arun Gupta, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jammu urged that the enforcement agencies and government policies are further strengthened which will instill fear and deter the illicit operators to undertake such criminal activities. He also spoke on the need of adequate steps to check the sales of spurious and counterfeit products on e-commerce platforms.
Mr. Rajesh Sharma, Co – Chair, FICCI J&K State Council, CEO Skipper Overseas Ltd in his concluding remarks said, “while, arresting this menace is vital, encouraging the use of indigenous goods will also play a defining role to eliminate this socio-economic threat. Not only it will benefit Indian economy, reduce the demand of imported goods and avoid dumping of cheap products, it will also create jobs and deter cross border illicit trade”.
As cases related to smuggling and counterfeiting rise steeply during the past few months, thus webinar was organized to discuss actionable, innovative solutions and strategies for curbing this menace. This initiative is a part of a series of such interactions which are being organized by FICCI CASCADE, across the country to highlight the problem of counterfeiting and smuggling and elicit response from different states.Lear More
FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) organised a webinar on ‘Consumer Protection in the COVID Age’ on the occasion of World Anti-Counterfeiting Day on 8th June 2021. This day enables national and international organizations involved in the fight against counterfeit products to increase consumer awareness of the risks and costs associated with buying fakes, and to encourage consumers to better understand the seriousness of the problem.
Mr Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE welcomed all the participants and stated, “the Covid-19 virus and illicit trade have a lot in common, both cause immense economic, social and individual distress.” Applauding the enforcement officers who have relentlessly pursued the smugglers and counterfeiters; and seized many contraband and fake products during the current crisis, Mr Rajput urged them to keep up the good work which would ensure that the perpetrators of crime did not see the covid-19 situation as a reason to exploit vulnerable consumers and organizations.
Mr Hem Kumar Pande, Former Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, GoI chaired the session and observed that consumer awareness has become an important part of the anti-counterfeiting strategy in developed economies. On the flipside, in developing countries, it is still a major challenge. “The ‘Jaago Grahak Jaago’ campaign of the Indian Government has received reasonable success with urban consumers looking out for the safety and genuineness of the product. But we still have a long way to go to inculcate and develop a sense of responsibility amongst the rural consumer base”, he added.
Mr Shibesh Singh, Additional Commissioner (Crime), Delhi Police said, “there has been a significant rise of frauds against public during the second wave of the coronavirus”. During the recent wave of the pandemic, he said, the Delhi police were able to block almost 550 fraud bank accounts, seized more than 1.25 crore rupees, and suspended almost 1500 sim cards. Highlighting the problem of black marketing and selling of counterfeit, fake, spurious covid cure products, Mr Singh said, “with the help of local enforcement agencies, Delhi police arrested more than 300 black marketeers and broke the backbone of COVID related crime syndicate”.
Emphasizing the unwavering efforts of the DRI officers during the unprecedented coronavirus crisis, Mr Rajesh Pandey, Principal Additional Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence said, “during the pandemic year, DRI has seized 984 Kgs of gold & illicit cigarette sticks worth more than Rs. 100 crores along with seizures a large amount of heroin, cocaine, hashish, opium, and synthetic drugs.” He added that the Covid 19 pandemic impacted manufacturing and trade, and the gap was filled with counterfeit and smuggled products. Hence, law enforcement and trade & industry must work more closely so that illicit activities can be neutralised to a great extent.
Commemorating this year’s World Anti-Counterfeiting Day, the FICCI CASCADE’s webinar marks a crucial milestone to further discuss how amid the COVID emergency, counterfeiting has changed over the past months, while looking at the anti-illicit efforts that are needed in the coming days. Industry panellists from Amazon, Johnson and Johnson and Underwriters Laboratories agreed that the ultimate goal should be to identify and sever illicit products and their sellers before they have a chance to create a negative experience for our consumers. Amazon, for example, have blocked 10 billion suspected sellers and seized more than 2 million products.
Moreover, it was agreed that a co-ordinated action is the need of the hour as no single company or sector can fight counterfeiting alone. While legitimate manufacturers hold the information necessary to distinguish their products from the fakes in the market, E-commerce platforms have information about the third-party sellers dealing in fake products. Likewise, search providers have a broad view of how actors can move across different platforms, while payment providers are a critical part in tracing illicit gains to counterfeiters and cutting off their access. Input from each of these sources is necessary to allow both the government and private sector to have full insight into the paths of counterfeit and smuggled goods; and to track those who are responsible.Lear More
In Conversation with Shri Rakesh Asthana, IPS, Director General, Border Security Force and Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau
“Smuggling activities generate large amount of money and the money generated is further funnelled into various anti-social activities in our country”, said Mr. Rakesh Asthana, Director General, Border Security Force and Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau. Mr Asthana was speaking at the ‘In Conversation Series’ an initiative of FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) to share insights and deepen understanding on the various facets of illicit trade with subject matter experts. Speaking on the menace of drug smuggling, Mr Asthana said, “according to a recent survey by Govt. of India, it is found that nearly 2.1% of the Indian population is addicted to heroin, and 1.44 lakh crore of illicit revenue is generated every year through it”. He further added that in 2019, the MHA has constituted a 4 tier coordinated mechanism which is a robust system of inter-agency coordination led by DG, Narcotics Control Bureau to address the menace of smuggling.
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE in his address said, “In India, since the onset of the pandemic, our paramilitary forces and enforcement agencies have raided and seized smuggled, spurious and counterfeit sanitizers, masks, PPE Kits, toiletries and cosmetics, electronic goods, cigarettes, packaged food, spices, drugs, alcohol and several other items across various states”. Speaking on the increasing number of seizures being reported every day, Mr Rajput said, “it is highly possible that the total seizures may just be the tip of the iceberg of a much larger network. We cannot afford to lower our guard and therefore it is extremely important that our enforcement agencies keep up their already impressive work and ensure that such mischievous elements are kept at bay”.
Mr. Anil Sinha, Former Director, CBI and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE while in conversation with Mr Asthana said, “On one hand, we have a raging pandemic where criminals have used it as an opportunity to increase their nefarious activities, causing significant damage on the economy of the nation, health, and safety of the consumers while on the other hand there is smuggling and how it is funding and terrorism and undermining the security of a nation”. Strengthening of inter-agency coordination and the need for successful prosecution of criminals in smuggling and counterfeiting cases were also highlighted in his discussion with Mr. Asthana.
Border forces face key challenges in preventing illicit trade and disrupting transnational smuggling operations. It is certain that border officers are critical stakeholders in combating cross border illegal trading activities. As border control becomes challenging due to newer forms of cross border crimes it becomes vital that officers at the borders are prepared to identify possible suspects and their victims in such crimes. 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.
Watch the session live at: https://youtu.be/ZWILGPUrc_QbLear More
Webinar on Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond-Be Vocal for Local and Prevent Illicit Trade
Counterfeit and smuggled goods have infiltrated everyday avenues of commerce, making their way into supply chains and consumers’ homes. The rise of smuggled and counterfeit products threatens manufacturers’ competitiveness, undermines consumer confidence, and poses a threat to individuals’ health and safety. While the centre and state governments have been playing a proactive role in dealing with this issue, FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) has also been highlighting the ill effects of this adversary and eliciting response from stakeholders to concertedly address this problem especially during the current times. It is with the above background that FICCI CASCADE organized a webinar on ‘Combating Counterfeit and Smuggled and Pirated goods During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond’, on 31st March 2021 focusing on the State of Telangana. The webinar was a part of a series of such events which are being organised across the country as part of a nation-wide awareness campaign to highlight the issue and focus on the growing menace of illegal trade.
Mr. T. Muralidharan, Chairman, FICCI Telangana State Council & Chairman, TMI Group welcomed the dignitaries and during his address, said, “Discussions on combating smuggling and counterfeiting are even more important in the context of COVID19 which is impacting the economy and is endangering lives of people. Illicit trade adversely impacts the manufacturing strength of the nation and if not checked will act as barrier to the government’s vision of making India a global manufacturing hub”. Mr Muralidharan also suggested that the crimes pertaining to counterfeiting should be treated as cases of revenue evasion and not only as a consumer protection and quality issue. Moreover, colluders including the retailers should be treated like counterfeiters. It will be also important that one should name and shame the colluders and report them to the GST and IT authorities. This will prove to be a bigger deterrent than consumer court actions. Today most consumers believe that counterfeiting happens at a small scale and hence it is not seen as a serious issue while buying. Reports being published regularly reports on the scale of the menace with statistics will help in generating greater public awareness.
Mr. Anil Sinha, Former Director, CBI and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE in his address emphasized on the need for policies and regulations which disincentivizes such illegal activities. He suggested the need for a nodal agency comprising of representatives from different government departments to ensure coordinated actions against this menace. He informed that FICCI CASCADE had recently recommended to the Govt. of India for setting up of an umbrella body i.e., a multi-agency centre to ensure proper coordination amongst the concerned Ministries/Departments/Enforcement agencies to address the problems arising out of Illicit trade. This nodal agency could share intelligence and enhance cooperation among national and international bodies. Further, it could make policy recommendations and build capacities to address the menace of counterfeiting and smuggling.
The webinar was also addressed by industry leaders – Mr. Milind Palany, Global Brand Protection Lead – India & South Asia, Johnson & Johnson: Mr. Amit Bhasin, General Manager, Legal- Customer Development and Corporate Secretarial, Hindustan Unilever Ltd.; and Mr Devendra Surana, Managing Director, Bhagyanagar India Ltd. They emphasized that the illicit trade problem has only compounded in the pandemic situation with criminals using it as an opportunity to cause significant damage on the economy of the nation, health, and safety of the consumers. All the speakers underlined the need for safeguarding the consumers’ health and safety, and the interest of genuine businesses, while promoting indigenous production should be a fundamental strategy to India’s growth and development.Lear More