Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy

Past Events

Capacity Building Programme for Police Officers on Prevention of Counterfeiting, Smuggling and Piracy. Focus State: Maharashtra

20 October 2021 | Medium: VIRTUAL

FICCI CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy) organized Capacity Building Programmes for Police Officers of Maharashtra on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling. The programmes were conducted in two parts, one for the officers to the level of PSIs on 20th October 2021 and the other for DySPs and ACPs on 22nd October 2021. The workshops saw participation of several officers of Maharashtra Police across various districts. The capacity building programmes were organized with an aim to sensitize the police officers on the importance of continued awareness and seriousness of the impact of counterfeit and smuggled goods.

Mr. Ravindra Sengaonkar, Inspector General of Police, Training and Special Unit, Maharashtra, was the chief guest at the programmes. While addressing the gathering Mr. Sengaonkar said, “Funds raised by counterfeiting & smuggling activities are directly utilized for anti-social activities and are a threat to the nation. Hence, it is important that we assign adequate priority to such cases.” “Any offense related to counterfeiting or smuggling has to be investigated thoroughly, professionally and should have a logical conclusion”, he further added.

Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE delivered the welcome address. “Police Department is the primary law enforcement agency in our country and play 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”, said Mr. Rajput. Complimenting the officers, he added that top class information, timely action and a proactive approach against the criminals who indulge in illicit activities, exhibited by the Maharashtra Police is indeed a great service to the nation.

Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor FICCI CASCADE and Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi said, “Capacity building 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. Moreover, severe extant bail provisions, rigorous imprisonment and stringent monetary penalty are also imperative to create the desired deterrence.”

Speakers from ITC, Johnson and Johnson and Marico highlighted industry issues and spoke on the need for collaborative actions with Police to counter such offences. In pursuance of its mandate, FICCI-CASCADE has been organizing similar programs across the country in briefing enforcement agencies on procedural and enforcement issues while tackling illicit trading activities.

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In Conversation with Mr. Maurice Emiola Adéfalou, Technical Officer, IPR, and Health and Safety Programme Manager in Compliance, WCO

In terms of counterfeiting and smuggling, illicit trade makes up a vast ‘global businesses’, representing a multibillion-dollar illegal industry that creates a significant drain on the world economy. The practice of illicit trade not only negatively impacts the economy of the nations but also poses a serious threat to health conditions of the individuals, especially during the time of COVID-19 pandemic.

FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy organised an ‘In Conversation with Mr. Maurice Emiola Adéfalou, Technical Officer, IPR, and Health and Safety Programme Manager in Compliance, WCO’ on 11th October 2021. The session was organised to discuss the menace of cross-border trafficking of products and to find ways and means to address the growing hazards of smuggling and counterfeiting across the nations.

Addressing the ‘In Conversation Series’, Mr Adéfalou while speaking on WCO’s Operation STOP, said that the main objective of the operation was to protect societies from the menace of illicit and spurious medicines, vaccines and medical products during the COVID pandemic. He further stated that the learnings from operation STOP was to work together and be aware and prepared about the market.” “Collaboration, stringent actions against perpetrators and dialogue with private players are key to curb any kind of illicit activities”, stressed Mr. Adefalou.

Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE while addressing the session said, “Operation STOP which was WCO’s immediate response against illicit trafficking of medicines, vaccines and medical supplies linked to COVID-19 pandemic, played a determinant role in the fight against the illicit trade during this health crisis.” He said that the CBIC in India has been a longstanding and valued member of the World Customs Organization. “It has a strong cooperation with the WCO in a number of enforcement related areas. During the covid period the Indian Customs, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and other enforcement authorities have seized smuggled, spurious, and counterfeit vaccines sanitizers, masks, PPE Kits, disinfectants, toiletries and cosmetics, electronic goods, cigarettes, spices, alcohol and several other items across various states and in large numbers,” Mr. Rajput added.

Mr. Najib Shah, Former Chairman, CBIC and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE said, “The need for cooperation between Customs Administrations, enforcement agencies within the country and industry are essential to thwart the growing menace of counterfeit trade.” Issues of the cross-border smuggling, initiatives taken by WCO to arrest this problem and the need for effective collaborations in mitigating this challenge were also discussed.

Watch the session at: https://youtu.be/b7-Zl5NXZts

 

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Capacity Building Programme for State Excise Officials on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling

by adminficciSeptember 15, 2021 Past Events0 comments

Focus State: Rajasthan

15 September 2021 | Medium: VIRTUAL

The practice of illicit trade involving counterfeiting and smuggling not only inflict monetary losses on individuals but also damages the national economy, have security implications, and jeopardize consumer’s health. FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) organised a capacity building programme on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling for the excise officers of Rajasthan on 15th September 2021. The programme was organised to sensitize the officers on the socio-economic impact of illicit and spurious alcohol, facilitate better engagement and cooperation of industry members and excise officers to prevent this menace.

Mr. P C Jha, Advisor FICCI CASCADE and Former Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs gave an overview on Socio-Economic Impact of Counterfeiting & Smuggling. While highlighting this issue, Mr. Jha said that for every manufactured product there exists a counterfeit in the market and to tackle this problem effective coordination and cooperation among different stakeholders such as government, enforcement agencies, industry, consumers, media is the need of the hour.

Dr. Joga Ram, IAS, Excise Commissioner, Rajasthan State Excise Department, Government of Rajasthan in his keynote address said, “In order to prevent illicit trade of liquor the state of Rajasthan has taken various measures such as introducing excise preventive force to monitor the mobility and smuggling of alcoholic beverages between states; implementing track and trace system where each legal bottle or carton is traced from the place of production till the place of consumption; introduction of Navjeevan Scheme for providing resources of livelihood to people engaged in manufacturing, storing and sale of illicit liquor, etc.”.

The uncertain situation of global crisis in the year 2020 made illicit trade as a matter of serious concern. While the government was committed towards fighting the health crisis, the perpetrators of the illicit trade used this as an opportunity to expand and intensify their operations. Since the onset of the pandemic enforcement agencies have raided and seized smuggled, spurious and counterfeited medicines, healthcare products, cosmetics, electronic goods, alcohols, packaged goods and several other items.

Mr. Deep Chand, IPS (Retd), Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi and Advisor, FICCI CASCADE while addressing the session praised the alert excise authorities of Rajasthan who have raided counterfeit liquor production units and seized huge volumes of spurious liquor during these unprecedented times. “However, with increased number of seizures being reported every day, it is highly possible that the total seizure may just be the tip of the iceberg of a much larger network. Hence, it is extremely important that our enforcement agencies keep up their already impressive work,” he further added.

Capacity building programme organized by FICCI CASCADE is an ongoing exercise that plays an instrumental role in motivating and enabling the law enforcement agencies to understand the gravity of the problem and take requisite actions against the perpetrators.

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Capacity Building Programme for Police Officers on Prevention of Counterfeiting, Smuggling

20/08/2021

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.

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In Conversation programme with Lt Gen Pradeep Chandran Nair, AVSM, YSM, DG, Assam Rifles

17/08/2021

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/o81nEVVJk9s

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Capacity Building Programme for Police Officers on Prevention of Counterfeiting, Smuggling

03/08/2021

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.

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Capacity Building Programme for State Excise Officials on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling

22/07/2021

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.

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Webinar on Policies and Strategies to Prevent Counterfeiting and Smuggling- Be Vocal for Local and Prevent Illicit Trade

09/07/2021

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.

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