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
Capacity Building Programme for Police Officers on Prevention of Counterfeiting, Smuggling and Piracy
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 Gurugram on 6th March 2021. Mr. Maqsood Ahmed, IPS, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Gurugram in his address said, “Activities like smuggling and counterfeiting are causing huge damage to the society and the nation’s economy. Gurugram has recently seen a spike in white collared crime hence increasing surveillance, creating awareness and coordination amongst law enforcement agencies are key to counter this menace effectively.
Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor FICCI CASCADE and Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi during his presentation of the overview on Socio-Economic Impact of Counterfeiting, Smuggling & Piracy highlighted that the COVID19 provided an opportunity to criminals to exploit the current situation and found new ways to make money be it counterfeit or smuggled goods, fraud and cybercrime. Applauding the enforcement officers, Mr. Deep Chand said “even as the country is grappling with the coronavirus crisis, the resolve of officers to protect infiltration of illicit goods surreptitiously into our market-places while maintaining law and order is indeed laudable. However, continued thrust of enforcement activity is essential to keep the offenders at bay.”
The programme was also addressed by Mr. Dharamveer Singh, Asst. Commissioner of Police, Gurugram Police. Sharing his wide experience on investigation of such cases, Mr. Singh emphasized that how the increasing number of seizures may just be the tip of the iceberg of a much larger network and hence this calls for continued focus on tackling the widespread threat
This capacity building programme aimed to sensitize the police officers and underscore the importance of continued awareness and seriousness of the impact of counterfeit and smuggled goods. It was emphasized that such illicit trading practices not only causes huge losses to the government and industry but is also causing significant economic and health & safety consequences for the society at large. Mr. Shashank Singh, Partner, K&S Partners informed the officers about the relevant laws and procedures to be followed while dealing with such cases. Industry representatives- Mr. Milind Palany, Global Brand Protection Lead, India & South Asia, Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Pravin Singh, Lead-Public Policy & Advocacy and Mr. Manish Bathri, Consultant, Brand Protection, Marico Ltd. and Mr. Rajiv Suri, Partner, RNA Technology & IP Attorneys who spoke on behalf of Puma discussed the collaborative role of police and industry in thwarting this menace.
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 related to counterfeiting and smuggling, equipping the officers to understand the laws and take requisite action against the perpetrators.Lear More
21-22 January, 2021
Impact of Counterfeiting and Smuggling on Personal Health and Safety
It has long been known that illicit trade in terms of counterfeiting and smuggling makes up a vast ‘global businesses’, representing a multibillion-dollar illegal industry that creates a significant drain on the world economy. Further, it negatively impacts legitimate economic activity and facilitates an underground economy and organized crime that deprives governments of revenues for vital public services, forces higher burdens on taxpayers, dislocates hundreds of thousands of legitimate jobs and exposes consumers to dangerous and ineffective products.
The COVID-19 pandemic has called for greater focus on addressing the growing hazards of counterfeiting and smuggling which are severely impacting the economy and endangering lives of consumers. While the government is continuously intensifying efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus by enacting various measures to support public health systems, safeguard the economy and ensure the safety of its citizens, illegal operators are taking advantage of the pandemic by providing illicit alternatives of items, both online and offline.
Even before the onset of the pandemic, OECD in 2019 stated that trade in counterfeits and pirated goods has risen steadily over the last few years and stood at 3.3% of global trade. Unfortunately, the pandemic not only complicated it but has made matters worse with estimates from The World Economic Forum stating that over US$2.2 trillion (3% of global GDP) would be lost due to illicit trade leakages in 2020.
The current environment most certainly presented a new opportunity for all stakeholders to tackle this long-standing problem. It is with the above background that FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) organized the 7th edition of its annual programme MASCRADE (Movement Against Smuggled and Counterfeit Trade) 2021 on January 21-22, with the theme ’Impact of Counterfeiting and Smuggling on Personal Health and Safety’. MASCRADE 2021 focused on addressing the debilitating impact of counterfeiting and smuggling on global economies. This conference was a conscious and well directed attempt to bring in the best minds from the fields of policy making, law, brand protection, industry, enforcement agencies and media to find a holistic and permanent solution to the problem of counterfeiting and smuggling, which if left unchecked, threatens to subvert the economic and societal stability of countries across the world.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, inaugurating the 7th Edition of MASCRADE 2021, emphasized the challenges of COVID 19 pandemic and illegal operators of drugs. He stated, “Amid the chaos created by the Covid-19 pandemic and the various policy responses designed to contain its spread, illicit players have used the pandemic as an opportunity to increase their nefarious activities, causing significant damage to the economy of the nation, and health and safety of people worldwide.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also called for greater focus on coming together to address the growing hazards of counterfeiting and smuggling. In this regard, he said, “Businesses and industry must come together and partner with the government to become a greater force in fighting this growing threat with the ultimate goal of keeping consumers safe. The methods by which spurious, misbranded and adulterated drugs enter the distribution channel have become increasingly complex. Weak points in the distribution processes of pharmaceutical products provide an avenue for entry of such products in the supply chain. This is an issue where industry players can and must play an active role to help identify and plug these loopholes,” he said.
Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization, in his keynote address said, “While the movement of people has been severely restricted at the borders, customs has been working tirelessly to ensure the smooth cross border movement of essential goods including medicines and medical supplies. On the other hand, we are mindful that criminal organizations could exploit the current pandemic to obtain illegal profits. Hence, Customs-Business Partnership in addressing together the scourge of counterfeiting and smuggling is imperative.”
In a special address, Hon’ble Justice Manmohan Sarin, Former Lokayukta, NCT of Delhi, Chief Justice, High Court of Jammu & Kashmir, Judge, High Court of Delhi and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE, highlighted the harmful effects of smuggled and counterfeit goods, and elaborated on the importance to introduce and enhance laws related to such crimes and create the requisite deterrents to dissuade those indulging in it.
Mr. Uday Shankar, President, FICCI welcomed the dignitaries and complimenting the government’s call for Vocal for Local said, “an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ will not only increase share of manufacturing in the country’s GDP, create job opportunities in India and drive home the value of indigenously produced goods, but will also build ‘Brand India’ and deter cross border illicit trade.
The perpetrators of illicit trade have made deep inroads into popular pandemic products like sanitizers, face masks, PPE Kits, medicine, disinfectants, toiletries and much more. The fake FMCG market is growing at an annual rate of 44.4% which is higher than the growth rate of the overall FMCG market. Moreover, 3 lakh crore of FMCG products circulated in India are counterfeit. Highlighting this challenge, Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said, “It is a fact that the Industry is reeling under the impact of the COVID pandemic with some sectors expected to make faster recovery. While for many others, it will be a slow and painful way back to the pre-COVID levels.” Drawing similarities between illicit trade and the COVID pandemic, Mr. Rajput said, “COVID virus and illicit trade have a lot in common as both cause immense economic, social and individual distress. While we are at a point of countering the virus, it is illicit trade that has and continues to damage humankind in a massive manner”.
The two-day long event, which was held virtually on 21-22 January:
- Looked at the economic consequences of counterfeiting and smuggling and the policies needed to deter this activity.
- Contributed to an integrated vision of security and public safety.
- Deepened the understanding of “grey markets” for smuggled and counterfeit goods which has seen a surge during COVID times.
- Assessed the impact of the growing illicit trade worldwide and tried to provide practical recommendations and effective strategies to mitigate this challenge especially in a post COVID era.
Various issues such as Illicit trade amid public health crisis; placing public health and safety at the heart of the fight against smuggling and counterfeiting; and quarantining counterfeiting and smuggling to accelerate action against criminals, among others, were deliberated in the two-day dialogue. The need for a systematic treatment and persuasion by global community for stronger enforcement to combat this menace was reiterated by a host of notable international speakers from World Customs Organization, INTERPOL, OECD, TRACIT, UKIPO, Italian Law Enforcement Agency, senior enforcement officers from the field and captains from the industry.Lear More
FICCI CASCADE organized an “In conversation with Dr. Muktesh Chander, Special Commissioner, Delhi Police,” on 8 January 2021. The objective of this session was to throw light on the scenario of counterfeiting and smuggling in India, increasing cyber-crime during the pandemic, and strengthening enforcement & surveillance mechanism to address the issue of counterfeiting and smuggling in the current crisis
Dr. Muktesh Chander, Special Commissioner, Delhi Police said that “Actual occurrences of cases of counterfeiting and smuggling are much more than reported.” He further added that the increasing surveillance, creating public awareness and coordination amongst law enforcement agencies and stakeholders are vital to counter the problem of counterfeiting and smuggling effectively.
Speaking at the ‘In Conversation Series’, Dr. Chander discussed the scenario of counterfeiting and smuggling in India, need for greater cyber security & cyber hygiene and strengthening enforcement & investigation mechanism to address illicit trade.
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said, “In India, since lockdown, our enforcement agencies have raided and seized smuggled, spurious and counterfeit sanitizers, masks, PPE Kits, disinfectants, toiletries and cosmetics, electronic goods, cigarettes, packaged food, spices, alcohol and several other items across various states. They not only put a spoke in illicit trader’s wheels but remained in an absolutely perfect state of alertness, thereby thwarting many attempts by them to spread their illegal, illicit, and sub-standard products.”
Mr. Deep Chand, Former Special Commissioner, Delhi Police and Advisor, FICCI CASCADE said, “Counterfeiting and smuggling are serious crimes damaging the world economy while the common consumer faces health and safety issues and the genuine industry suffers a huge loss due to illicit products.” He further emphasised that COVID-19 has provided opportunity to criminals to exploit the current situation to find new ways to make money. They are increasing and diversifying their activities through a wide range of crimes and scams which exploit the fear and uncertainty surrounding the virus.
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. One of FICCI CASCADE’s mandate is capacity building of law enforcement agencies and it has worked extensively and intensively in this area; organizing training programmes for police officers across India and interactions with the law enforcement authorities to emphasize on the importance of awareness and seriousness of the impact of counterfeit and smuggled goods.
The session will be live streamed on YouTube at the below given link: https://youtu.be/59r3H0pj-NE
Illicit trade in terms of smuggling and counterfeiting is undeniably one of the greatest risks globally impacting legitimate economic activity and facilitating an underground economy and organized crime that deprives governments of revenues for vital public services, forces higher burdens on taxpayers, incurs job losses and exposes consumers to dangerous and ineffective products. Unfortunately, the problem has only compounded in the current COVID crisis, where criminals have used the pandemic as an opportunity to increase their nefarious activities, causing significant damage on the economy of the nation, health, and safety of the consumers.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which is the country’s premier counter-smuggling agency has consistently and effectively adapted to the new challenges brought in due to change in the economic scenario. Even in this challenging scenario, DRI officers have been fulfilling their responsibilities with utmost dedication and zeal and are playing a vital role in strengthening the economic and physical security of the country.
In order to discuss the threats posed by smuggling to India’s security and economy and the pattern of smuggling due to COVID-19, FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) organized an ‘In Conversation with Balesh Kumar, Pr. Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence’ on 23rd December 2020.
Mr. Balesh Kumar, Pr. DG, DRI emphasised that “National security needs to be looked at holistically. We must understand that economic security cannot be treated as something separate from physical security.” Speaking on the challenging security environment that India faced, Mr Kumar underlined the need for all law enforcement agencies to have a constant vigil to prevent smuggling as well as to ensure that necessary inputs were available to prevent potential terror attacks funded both externally and internally.
“Sealing of borders is not enough to secure the hinterland. Issues relating to security can travel across the borders very quickly into India and for that we must have a clear strategy of comprehensive approach of looking at the internal security in conjunction with external security as well as physical security along with economic security,” he added. Highlighting the unwavering efforts of DRI officers during the unprecedented coronavirus crisis, Mr. Kumar informed that DRI has strategically focused on smuggling of cigarettes and gold this year seizing illicit cigarettes worth Rs. 45 crores and gold worth Rs. 275 crores in the last 9 months.
While having a conversation with Mr. Balesh Kumar on various aspect of the problem along with the preparedness of enforcement agencies in terms of adequacy of manpower and resources, and terrorism financing through the proceeds of smuggling, Mr. PC Jha, Former Chairman, CBIC and Advisor, FICCI CASCADE said, “Smuggling of items such as cigarettes, narcotics, substandard food items and medicines leads to severe health hazards. The unaccounted profit generated through smuggling is also utilised to finance global terror activities.”
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE welcomed Mr. Balesh Kumar and Mr. P C Jha and said that It is indeed heartening to see the efforts made by the officers of DRI to protect infiltration of illicit goods surreptitiously into our marketplaces. However, with increasing number of seizures being reported every day, it is highly possible that the total seizures may just be the tip of the iceberg of a much larger network. Mr. Rajput also urged the enforcement agencies to keep up their already impressive work and ensure that such mischievous elements are kept at bay.
Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE and Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi in his concluding address thanked the Director General and his team who have over the years gone from strength to strength in preventing outright smuggling and safeguarding the economic frontiers of our country.
The session will be live streamed on YouTube at the below given link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fk62TTqOlQ&feature=youtu.beLear More
Webinar on Communication, Coordination and Collaboration- Strengthening the fight against counterfeiting and smuggling
It has long been known that counterfeiting and smuggling make up a vast ‘global businesses’, representing a multibillion-dollar illegal industry that creates a significant drain on the world economy. Further, it negatively impacts legitimate economic activity and facilitates an underground economy and organized crime that deprives governments of revenues for vital public services, forces higher burdens on taxpayers, dislocates hundreds of thousands of legitimate jobs and exposes consumers to dangerous and ineffective products. It is the world’s largest growing industry, and its size is estimated to range between $650 million to $3 trillion according to multiple studies.
No country is immune to the impact of counterfeiting and smuggling and no single sector can be said to be an exception. The wide availability of such products is one of the biggest challenges faced by Indian industry, impacting ‘Brand India’ globally.
FICCI has been focusing on the need to curb the problem of counterfeits, pass offs and smuggled goods, and accordingly has dedicated a forum by establishing CASCADE – Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy. FICCI CASCADE works closely with industry, consumers, media, legal experts, consumer organizations and government to create awareness on how counterfeiting and smuggling have become a serious menace to public health and safety, and why all concerned must make a concerted effort to contain this menace.
in spite of several measures taken by all stakeholders to contain counterfeiting and smuggling, further steps are required, both in the form of policy intervention and awareness generation to address this socio-economic scourge. It is with the above background, FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) organized a webinar on ‘Communication, Coordination and Collaboration – Strengthening the fight against counterfeiting and smuggling’ on 26 November 2020.
Dr. Amar Patnaik, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha in his keynote address at the webinar elaborated that in order to drive India’s economic resurgence, the parallel economy in counterfeiting and smuggling has to be addressed. This would help if India wants to achieve a $ 5 trillion economy in 2025 and aim to take it to $ 10 trillion by 2027. He further added that measures such as public policy and strong enforcement are much needed to address this twin threat.
Mr Anil Rajput, Chair, FICCI CASCADE in his welcome address said that despite several measures taken by all stakeholders, further steps are required, both in the form of policy intervention and awareness generation to address this socio-economic scourge. Mr. Rajput further reiterated the need for establishing a coordinated national strategy to share intelligence, best practices, and cooperation on cross-border investigations to contain smuggling and counterfeiting
While highlighting the need for all the stakeholders to work in sync to combat this menace, Mr Deepankar Aron, Commissioner, GST (Appeals), Dehradun, Uttarakhand said, “Right data sharing with the right people at the right time is important in order to address this issue.” Further, on the enforcement scenario, Mr Aron said, “In just one-year, fraudulent imports exports worth Rs 2000 crore were detected leading to 200 arrests on white-collar crimes by the DRI, Eastern region.”
FICCI CASCADE has been over the years conducting multi-stakeholder dialogues focusing on identifying opportunities for joint actions between governments, enforcement agencies, industry and consumer organizations to combat this menace. The webinar brought together policymakers, think tanks, enforcement agencies, industry, and consumer organizations to deliberate on industry issues in tackling the flow of counterfeit, smuggled, and spurious products not only in the offline markets but on the online market space too.
The webinar saw participation from the e-commerce giant, Amazon who’s Director for Category Management, India, Mr. Noor Patel discussed measures that Amazon employs to check the proliferation of the issue and highlighted their innovative mechanisms and advanced technology solutions in blocking and tracing bad actors. Mr. Milind Palany, Global Brand Protection Lead – India & South Asia, Johnson & Johnson discussed the collaborative role of government and industry in thwarting this menace such as the need for collaboration with customs through data sharing mechanisms and knowledge dissemination. Speaking on the role of consumers, Prof. Bejon Kumar Misra, International Consumer Policy Expert, JAGO GRAHAK JAGO stated that there is a need to engage consumers more effectively if counterfeiting and smuggling needs to be tackled successfully.
It is unfortunate that the problem of smuggling and counterfeiting has only compounded in the current situation where the world is facing severe disruptions due to COVID-19. The criminals, on the other hand have used the pandemic as an opportunity to exploit the vulnerable consumer and organizations causing significant damage. Mr. Deep Chand, Former Spcl. Commissioner of Police, New Delhi and Advisor, FICCI CASCADE in his concluding remarks said that It is imperative that businesses take proper steps to protect consumers from the proliferation of scammers and infringers that seek to take advantage of the current crisis.Lear More
In conversation with Prof Arun Kumar, Malcolm Adiseshiah Chair Professor, Institute of Social Sciences
Smuggling and counterfeiting which are termed as illicit trade is the world’s largest growing economic menace. Owing to its rather complex nature, its size is hard to determine. However, various estimates suggest that over the last ten years, the magnitude of illicit trade has grown from USD 650 billion to about USD 3 trillion, and this criminal activity represents 10 per cent of the global trade, being rightly termed by the FBI as the ‘crime of the 21st century’. It is evident that the hazards of illicit trade are serious which needs to be dealt with sincere commitment leading to result-oriented effective steps addressing this challenge.
In order to discuss in detail FICCI CASCADE is organizing “In conversation with Prof Arun Kumar, Malcolm Adiseshiah Chair Professor, Institute of Social Sciences” on 13th November 2020 at 3:00 pm. This conversation will be between Prof Kumar and Mr. Najib Shah, Former Chairman, CBIC and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE, discussing the multifaceted aspects of illicit trade, understanding the risks caused by such activities and discussing the remedial measures to contain the menace.
Sharing is caring, and there is no better time to share inspiration, ideas, and stories than now! The #MyCovidStory and #PeopleofCASCADE campaign was a storytelling initiative and a part of FICCI CASCADE’s (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy) response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a story-telling competition where participants shared their experiences on: how they felt, acted, and thrived from their encounter with counterfeit, fake and smuggled products during the challenging Covid-19 times. The objective of this competition was not only to generate awareness on the issues of counterfeiting and smuggling but also to inspire people to shun illicit products.
FICCI CASCADE has been actively working towards consumer awareness by highlighting the menace of fake, counterfeit and smuggled products, besides emphasizing how such illicit trade activities has become a serious threat to public health and safety. The COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately seen a surge in the availability of fake, falsified and substandard medical, healthcare and other consumer products. Many people are day-in-day-out proving to be key actors when it comes to finding solutions to global problems such as counterfeiting and smuggling. My COVID Story was an open invitation to all to share their stories by means of written testimonials to amplify their voices; CASCADE received an overwhelming response from people and shared their impactful stories on its social media handles.
Esteemed member of FICCI CASCADE Think Tank: Mr. Najib Shah, Former Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, Mr. Hem Kumar Pande, Former Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Ms. Kameswari Subramanian, International Expert, Customs Law, Procedures & Trade Facilitation judged the competition. Winners of the competition were:Lear More
webinar on Combating Counterfeit and Smuggled and Pirated goods- During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond ,Kerala
27/10/2020 | Kerala
Be Vocal for Local and Prevent Illicit Trade
Illicit trade, smuggling and counterfeiting have been a huge challenge for humankind for many decades where they rob the government of its rightful revenue, pose health and security hazards to citizens and create a plethora of problems for the society at large. 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 crisis. 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 27th October 2020 focusing on the State of Kerala. 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 P Thilothaman, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Govt. of Kerala, was the Chief Guest at the webinar. In his inaugural address, Mr P Thilothaman said, “We need to create consumer awareness and substantially reduce the illicit market operations for a conducive environment for growth and development in the country.” He further added, “Consumer awareness on fake and smuggled goods is low and hence many consumers are unaware that they are buying such goods and equally unaware of the consequences. Protecting and promoting the welfare of consumers has become one of the major concerns of our government and organizing awareness programs such as these will help to educate and sensitize the consumers.”
Mr Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE welcomed the dignitaries and during his address, complimented the Kerala Government for their high levels of vigil to deter any illicit activities in the state. He said, “Despite having multitude of challenges owing to COVID-19, the enforcement agencies of Kerala have seized large number of illicit liquor, fake sanitizer products, gold, tobacco products and much more.” Highlighting the Prime Minister’s Vocal for Local initiative, Mr Rajput emphasised, “I could not imagine a better time for the Hon’ble Prime Ministers clarion call of Vocal for Local-Atmanirbhar Bharat, which to my mind could alleviate the pain and catapult India to even greater heights in the future.”
Dr M I Sahadulla, Co-Chair, FICCI Kerala State Council and MD, KIMS Healthcare Management Ltd. said, “Kerala being a consumer state, the opportunity is more for illicit traders. Hence, it is essential to create awareness and put an end to such nefarious activities.”
Mr. P. C. Jha, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE and former Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs in his address said that among the different aspects of economic activity, manufacturing in small and medium enterprises which engages large number of people has been severely impacted because of COVID-19 and lockdowns and hence there is an urgent need to put it back on its feet. Promoting local manufacturing and use of indigenous products will not only increase share of manufacturing in the country’s GDP, create job opportunities in India and drive home the value of indigenously produced goods, but will also build ‘Brand India’ and deter cross border illicit trade.
Perspectives from Kerala Police was shared by Mr S Sreejith, IG, Crime, Kerala Police; Mr Sumit Kumar, Commissioner of Custom, Preventive, Kerala Customs shared the custom department’s vision in addressing the issue. Some of the key suggestions included:
- • Need for a wide scale programme to educate both industry and citizens about the dangers of smuggled and counterfeit goods.
- • Convergence of the stakeholders to address the menace of counterfeiting and smuggling.
- • Information based preventive action is a key tool to catch the perpetrators of illicit trade.
The webinar was also addressed by industry leaders from diverse sectors including Mr Deepak L Aswani, Co-Chair, FICCI Kerala State Council and Managing Partner, Lachmandas & Sons; Mr V Noushad, Managing Director, VKC Group Companies; Mr Varkey Peter, Managing Director, Mothers Agro Foods Pvt Ltd.; Mr Paul Francis, Managing Director, KLF Nirmal Industries (Pvt) Ltd and Mr Dileep Narayanan, Head-Bullion & Treasury ,Malabar Gold Private Ltd. They highlighted that the problem of illicit trade has only compounded in the current situation, where criminals have used the pandemic as an opportunity to cause significant damage on the economy of the nation, health, and safety of the consumers. The speakers also reiterated that consumer safety, safeguarding legitimate businesses while promoting indigenous production will play a significant role in the path to our economic recovery.
Capacity Building Programme for Police Officers on Prevention of Counterfeiting, Smuggling and Piracy , Jammu & Kashmir
16/10/2020 | Jammu & Kashmir
Over some time now, trade in counterfeit, smuggled and pirated goods has developed into a substantial threat to the economy of our country and pose serious safety and security hazards to the society at large. Different government agencies are involved at various stages in tackling such crimes, right from detection, investigation, prosecution and prevention of such offences, often including the recovery of the proceeds of crime. The Police department is the primary law enforcement agency in our country. With low barriers to market entry and infiltration, the Police play a very significant role in ensuring the protection of right owners. There are adequate laws available, but enforcement of the laws makes the role of police officers even more important in the fight against counterfeiters and smugglers.
FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy [CASCADE] in its endeavor to combat crimes related to smuggling and counterfeiting has over the years been sensitizing the country’s enforcement agencies on this issue, equipping them to understand and take requisite action against the various economic offenders. Keeping the above in view, FICCI CASCADE organized a training programme on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling for the Police Officers of Jammu and Kashmir on 16th October 2020. A key objective of the program was to sensitize the officers on the seriousness of the socio-economic impact of counterfeited and smuggled goods, in terms of the huge revenue losses to the government and industry as well as the significant health & safety consequences faced by consumers.
The training was inaugurated by Mr. Manish K Sinha, IPS, Inspector General, Crime, Jammu and Kashmir Police. Mr. Sinha in his address said, “Tackling the crimes of smuggling and counterfeiting of goods has been a major concern of nations since decades. Jammu and Kashmir forces have always been on toes to capture these wrong doers. We are also planning to develop advancements for better enforcement.” He further said that illegal trade not only leads to revenue loss to the government but also leads to unemployment amongst the youth in Jammu and Kashmir, who may be then tempted to join undesirable and illegal activities.
Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE, in his address informed about FICCI CASCADE’s mandate of capacity building of law enforcement agencies including Judges, Police and Customs Officers, and how CASCADE had been working extensively and intensively in this area nationally, organizing training programmes and seminars along with continuous Interactions with the law enforcement authorities to emphasize on the importance of increased awareness on the gravity of the problem.
Mr. Chand emphasized 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. He further reiterated that although such offenses are looked at as a victimless crime, it has many far-reaching consequences and is extremely important for a police officer to understand the consequences before taking actions on ground. Only then will an officer investigating a case related to smuggling and counterfeiting be able to understand and take suitable actions
Mr. Irfan Ahmad, Chairman, FICCI Jammu & Kashmir State Council and Managing Director, IA Multiventure Pvt. Ltd in his address said that the perpetrators of illicit trade are always looking at new ways to fool the people and damage the society. In Jammu and Kashmir this year itself the police and other enforcement authorities in the state have uncovered and arrested people engaged in illicit trade. Appreciating the efforts made by the enforcement officers during such unprecedented times, he reiterated that 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.
The training programme provided a useful platform for the exchange of ideas and experiences in the enforcement of laws and practices while dealing with the perpetrators. This workshop was extremely helpful in sensitizing the police officers about the relevant laws and procedures to be followed while dealing with the cases related to smuggling and counterfeiting. The technical sessions were followed by an Interactive-Session with the police officials with industry representatives. Industry members highlighted the on-ground practical issues which they faced with regards to the availability of spurious goods and discussed collaborative actions needed with police to counter this menace.
Among the speakers who discussed the wide-ranging concerns on the issue of counterfeiting, piracy and smuggling with the participating police officials were, Advocate Ferdous A Mohammed; Mr. Milind Palany, Global Brand Protection Lead – India & South Asia, Johnson & Johnson; Mr. Rajesh Sharma, Co Chair, FICCI Jammu & Kashmir State Council and Managing Director, Skipper Overseas Pvt. Ltd; Mr. Wani Gowhar, Managing Director, Vowcare Products; Ms. Shilpi Jha, Senior Legal Counsel for Intellectual Property-South Asia, United States Patent and Trademark Office; Mr. Hugh Austin ,Attaché, ICE and Mr. John Kapitzke, Attache, US Homeland Security Investigations
All speakers unanimously agreed that the issue of illicit trade is needed to be addressed as a high priority issue with the government. 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. In pursuance of our 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