Webinar on Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond, North East
15/09/2020 | North East
Be Vocal for Local and Prevent Illicit Trade
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. FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) in its series of state specific webinars on Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond’, organized the next edition in the series for the state of Assam and other north eastern states of India on September 15, 2020. The webinar discussed and underscored the efforts that the Industry & government have taken and could further take in tackling the flow of illicit products during the current crisis.
Mr. Debajyoti Dutta, Secretary, Food & Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Government of Assam during his special address at the webinar said, “The criminals who are indulging in smuggling and counterfeiting activities are promoting crime and economic instability and the consumers are bearing the brunt of it. It is important that we instill pride for Indian brands and goods amongst the consumers. This will play a pivotal role in putting counterfeit and smuggled products out of the market.” Mr. Dutta further said that the menace of illicit trade is to be dealt in a dedicated and systematic manner with concerted efforts from all central and state enforcement agencies along with the paramilitary forces.
Mr. Pabitra Khaund, Secretary, Department of Industries & Commerce, Government of Assam in his address reiterated the importance of supporting local manufacturing and goods and said that the Prime Minister’s call on ‘Vocal for local’ will be a potent tool in our fight against counterfeiting and smuggling. It will create a conducive environment for the economy of the state government and play a major role in strengthening India. He also shared that the government of Assam has launched several schemes in this direction, which has immensely benefitted local artisans and small enterprises.
The webinar shared insights on the role of enforcement agencies such as the customs, play to thwart criminals who are cashing in during the crisis. Mr. G. M. Kamei, Commissioner, Commissionerate of Customs, North Eastern Region shared that during the Covid period they have successfully conducted 710 seizures of goods worth Rs. 110 cr. The Commissioner said that the Custom officers have kept watch on the various areas of smuggling in the Indo-Myanmar border. As the lockdown restrictions are easing, the customs have increased their vigil along with increased coordination work with other agencies such as the DRI, Assam Rifles and state police to make the task of smuggler a difficult one. However they agree that much more can be done in the area and welcomed inputs and suggestions from industry and members of trade for reducing the menace of smuggling in the region.
Congratulating the Assam government and the enforcement agencies Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said, “The enforcement officials have relentlessly pursued the smugglers and counterfeiters in the North Eastern region and over the last few months seized contraband and illicit cigarettes, liquor, drugs, currency and consumer goods”. He urged them to keep up the good work which will ensure that the perpetrators of illicit trade do not see the covid-19 situation as a reason to exploit vulnerable consumers and organizations.
The session was chaired by Ms. Kameswari Subramanian, International Expert, Customs Law, Procedures & Trade facilitation and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE .The concluding remarks were made by Mr. Ashish Phookan, Chairman, FICCI Assam State Council. Issues such as consumer safety, safeguarding legitimate businesses while promoting indigenous production which will play a significant role in the path to our economic recovery was emphasized by the speakers. The webinar was attended by industry, government officials, officers from the enforcement agencies and stakeholders in this segment.Lear More
Webinar on Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond , Chhattisgarh
31/08/2020 | Chhattisgarh
Be Vocal for Local and Prevent Illicit Trade
FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) organized the next edition of its state specific webinars on Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond’ for the state of Chhattisgarh on August 31, 2020.
Mr Kawasi Lakhma, Minister, Commerce and Industry, Govt. of Chhattisgarh, was the Chief Guest at the programme. Mr Lakhma said, “Effective actions to eliminate smuggling and counterfeiting from the State is a focus area for our government and the concerned departments are extremely vigilant in dealing with such cases.” In his address Mr. Lakhma highlighted that the Chhattisgarh government has taken unprecedented reforms to create an enabling environment and is committed to offering investor a friendly infrastructure. He also added that it is imperative that we must all collaboratively check and substantially reduce the illicit market operations and create an eco-system for growth and development in the State.
As cases related to smuggling and counterfeiting rise steeply during the past few months, this webinar was organized to discuss and understand the disruptions caused by the pandemic, which have opened multiple avenues for criminals to prey upon susceptible organizations and consumers. Mr Manoj Kumar Pingua, Principal Secretary Department of Commerce & Industry, Government of Chhattisgarh said, “India’s role as a global economic powerhouse is increasingly linked to its ability to ensure that rights of legitimate business holders are protected with strong rules, and strong enforcement of the laws and regulations”. He further underscored the need for effective coordination between central and state agencies, strengthening domestic manufacturing, addressing the demand and supply gap and leveraging technology, which will make markets free from illicit products.
Sharing enforcement perspectives, Mr R. K. Vij, Additional Director General of Police, Chhattisgarh said, “During COVID times the Chhattisgarh police has taken strict action against people who have been involved in smuggling and have dealt strongly against those who have indulged in the black marketing of consumer goods”. Mr. Vij also suggested that a nodal agency comprising of representatives from different government departments could be formed to ensure coordinated actions against this menace.
Complimenting the Chhattisgarh government and the enforcement agencies for relentlessly pursuing the perpetrators of illicit trade, Mr Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said that under the leadership of the commerce and industries minister, promotion of local goods and legitimate businesses will create a conducive environment for the economy of the state government and play a major role in strengthening India.
The session was chaired by Mr Sanjeev Tripathi, Former R&AW Chief and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE. The concluding remarks were made by Mr Pradeep Tandon, Chairman, FICCI Chhattisgarh State Council and President, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. The webinar was attended by industry, government officials, officers from the enforcement agencies and stakeholders in this segment.
Kindly register at https://webinar.ficci.com/combating/index.php to take parts in the deliberations.Lear More
Webinar on Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond, Madhya Pradesh
29/07/2020 | Madhya Pradesh
Illicit trade in terms of counterfeiting and smuggling have emerged as one of the most formidable challenges before the nation, especially during the current coronavirus pandemic which has led to an economic distress. Illicit traders have always attacked vulnerabilities, be it brands, supply chains or consumers. As the perpetrators are looking at innovative ways to deceive the system to carry out their activities, they in turn deeply harm the economic interests of the nation. It is important to note that there is a steep rise in cases of smuggling and counterfeiting during the past few months, adversely impacting not only the government exchequer and industry sales, but also threatening local industries on which livelihoods of many depend.
More so, as a result of the supply chain disruptions, globalisation has now taken a back seat and nations are increasingly looking inwards to fulfill their needs and requirements. PM’s clarion call to promote local manufacturing and local goods will also play a crucial role to address the demand and supply gap and deter cross border smuggling.
Hence it was felt that it is vital to discuss and understand the disruptions caused by the pandemic. As new vulnerabilities emerge, and existing vulnerabilities at greater risk of exploitation by criminals, tackling this global scourge becomes even more acute and urgent in the current scenario. It is with the above background, FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) organized a webinar on ‘Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond’ on 29th July 2020. The webinar focused on the state of Madhya Pradesh and was a part of a series of such interactions to be organized across the country by FICCI CASCADE to highlight this issue and elicit response from different states.
Shri Sanjay Kumar Shukla, IAS, Principal Secretary, Industrial Policy and Investment Promotion, Government of Madhya Pradesh was the chief guest at the webinar. Mr. Shukla said, “Government, law enforcement agencies, industry and consumers must come together to identify the gaps and act in a coordinated way to address counterfeiting and smuggling”. He further added that in order to eliminate this problem in India, FICCI can share international best practices and actionable points to the government on how other countries have been able to counter this problem successfully.
FICCI CASCADE Chairman, Mr. Anil Rajput while welcoming the distinguished guests and participants said, “I must compliment the Madhya Pradesh government and the enforcement agencies for relentlessly pursuing the perpetrators of illicit trade. Despite the mammoth challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, their hands on approach and alertness has been highlighted by seizures of large number of cigarettes, liquor, synthetic milk, fake currency and much more. I’m confident that going forward they will keep up their stellar performance and continue to play an extremely important role in our fight against illicit trade”.
Speaking on ‘vocal for local’ being a potent tool in our fight against Illicit Trade, it was emphasized that as India starts to produce strong domestic brands and gradually reduces its dependence on foreign products, the circulation of foreign goods will over a period be reduced. As the profits begin to dry up, it will subsequently demotivate the criminals to further undertake such illegitimate activities.
As several cases of seizures of illicit goods are being reported amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Vipin Maheshwari IPS, Additional Director General, Special Task Force, Madhya Pradesh Police in his address said that COVID-19 is a wakeup call for all of us. No product category has been spared, be it milk, cosmetics, clothes, footwear, seeds, fertilizers or pharma. Mr. Maheshwari was of the opinion that sustained awareness campaigns for people, necessary amendments in laws, increasing penalties and sentences, more product testing laboratories are some areas where the government, police and business community should work together to eliminate this challenge.
The session was chaired by Mr. P K Malhotra, Former Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, GoI and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE. Mr. Malhotra highlighted that smuggling and counterfeiting harms the economy in multidimensional ways and the problem has been aggravated by globalisation and increased mobility. He also emphasized that effective coordination between central and state agencies, strengthening domestic manufacturing, addressing the demand and supply gap and leveraging technology are needed to make a conducive environment free from illicit products.
The webinar underscored the need for policy level coordination between government and the industry to address this menace. Illegal trade not only leads to revenue loss for the government but also leads to unemployment and hence a more focused and collaborated approach along with training and sensitization of enforcement officers for such crimes was much needed. The webinar was attended by industry, government officials, officers from the enforcement agencies and stakeholders in this segment.
Mr. Dinesh Patidar, Chairman, FICCI Madhya Pradesh State Council and CMD, Shakti Pumps India Ltd. made the concluding remarks.Lear More
Webinar on Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond, West Bengal
07/07/2020 | West Bengal
Even in normal times, there has been a growing recognition of the threat that illicit trade such as smuggling and counterfeiting pose to the stability, safety and security of a nation. But now, with the onslaught of the Covid-19 crisis, concerns are growing that the scale and scope of such activities could be increasing as authorities are distracted and overwhelmed by the unprecedented health crisis and the corresponding economic fallout. It is difficult to fathom the long-term impact of COVID-19, however, its detrimental effects are expected to disrupt supply chain operations of organizations.
These disruptions open up multiple avenues for fraudsters to prey upon susceptible organizations and consumers. New vulnerabilities may emerge, and existing vulnerabilities may be at a greater risk of exploitation by fraudsters. Hence, tackling this global scourge becomes even more acute and urgent in the current scenario. More so, as a result of the supply chain disruptions, globalisation has now taken a back seat and nations are increasingly looking inwards to fulfill their needs and requirements. PM’s clarion call to promote local manufacturing and local goods will also play a crucial role to eliminate this illicit trade as it will reduce the demand of imported goods and deter cross border smuggling of goods.
It is with the above background, FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) organized a webinar on ‘Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond’ on 7th July 2020. The webinar focused on the state of West Bengal and was a part of a series of such interactions to be organized across the country by FICCI CASCADE to highlight this issue and elicit response from different states.
Mr. Sadhan Pande, Minister–in-Charge, Consumer Affairs Department, Govt. of West Bengal was the chief guest at the programme said, “Counterfeiting and smuggling are two major economic crimes that are happening around the globe and the West Bengal government is making extra efforts to combat such crimes even during this pandemic.” Hon’ble Minister also invited CASCADE to join hands with his department to run a campaign on the subject in West Bengal.
West Bengal is a big state, both in terms of size as well as population. It shares boundaries with three countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. Unfortunately, the smugglers and counterfeiters have been persistent in their unlawful activities. As per DRI (Directorate of Revenue Intelligence), over the past one year, about 200 cases involving outright smuggling have been booked in the East and North East India by the DRI and Customs formations in these regions, resulting in seizure of goods worth Rs 480 crores, mainly coming from Myanmar and Bangladesh through the land borders apart from goods seized at the international airport and port in Kolkata).The major commodities smuggled outright into India from the eastern and north eastern India, include gold, silver, FICN, cigarettes, black pepper, readymade garments, toiletries and cosmetics, wild life, dates, electronic goods etc.
Mr. Deepankar Aron, Additional Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Kolkata remarked that smuggling and counterfeiting is the second most significant illegal trade. Citing recent major detections effected by DRI and Customs formations, Mr. Aron said that in last one year, 570 kgs of gold valued at Rs 220 crores and foreign currency worth Rs 30 crore was seized. He also added that several cases of smuggled cigarettes were detected where a total of 2.6 crores of cigarette sticks valued at around Rs 26 crores were also seized.
DRI has been working on addressing wild life smuggling apart from combating various other types of Cross Border Crime. Illegal wildlife trade ranks as the fourth largest transnational organized crime globally, only after the illegal trade in Narcotics, Counterfeit goods and Human trafficking. Mr. Aron highlighted that there is an unfortunate and increasing trend in smuggling of endangered and exotic fauna from different parts of the world into India.
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE welcomed all and thanked the Minister of Consumer Affairs, West Bengal Government, for his suggestion that the West Bengal government and FICCI CASCADE join hands and work together on the extremely important aspect of consumer awareness. Mr. Rajput emphasized that Illicit trade is indeed a big menace, and collaborations between all stakeholders is needed to eradicate this evil, which has made deep inroads in our country.
The interactive session was moderated by Mr. Hem Pande, Former Secretary, Dept. of Consumer Affairs, GoI who highlighted that the menace of illicit trade is impacting jobs, economy and creating havoc all around the world. Strengthening enforcement and empowering consumers to combat such crimes should be the constant endeavour. The webinar was attended by several participants from industry, government officials, officers from the enforcement agencies and stakeholders in this segment.Lear More
Webinar on Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond, Jammu & Kashmir
02/07/2020 | Jammu & Kashmir
The adverse impact of counterfeiting and smuggling on economies and societies across the globe has been a cause of serious concern. It deprives the government of its rightful revenue, completely demoralises the morale of the law abiding product manufacturers and exposes people to health and safety hazards. Illicit trade is the world’s largest growing industry with an estimated size ranging between $650 million to $3 trillion representing 10% of the global trade.
Since years, the world has been the battling this menace. Unfortunately the problem has only compounded in the current situation, where criminals have used the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to exploit the vulnerable consumer by providing illicit alternatives of goods and products causing significant damage to consumers and economies alike. Moreover, as businesses suffer, during this crisis, any sale of such products will only worsen the socio-economic distress. While arresting this menace is vital, encouraging the use of indigenous goods will also play a defining role to eliminate this socio-economic threat. Hon’ble Prime Minister’s clarion call ‘Vocal for Local’ will benefit Indian economy, reduce the demand of imported goods, create jobs and deter cross border illicit trade.
It is with the above background, FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) organized a webinar on ‘Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond’ on 2nd July 2020, focusing on the state of was Jammu and Kashmir. The webinar was a part of a series of such interactions to be organised across the country by FICCI CASCADE to highlight this issue and elicit response from different states.
Dr. Mehraj-ud-din Rather, KAS, Additional Secretary, Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir in his keynote address said that “The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the dangers posed by illicit trade. These times call for greater focus on the growing hazards of smuggling and counterfeiting. With consumer awareness of fake and smuggled so low, many consumers are unaware that they are buying such goods—and equally unaware of the consequences.”
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE in his opening remarks mentioned that “The UT of Jammu and Kashmir is particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of illicit trade, and this is due to the environment of instability created by the hostility amongst the neighbouring nations.”
Over the last few months seizures of fake currency, cigarettes, illicit liquor, fake hand sanitizers etc. have been reported in Jammu and Kashmir. Government departments and the state enforcement agencies have taken strict actions against those dealing in such goods and products. Complimenting the role played by the enforcement agencies of J&K to check the growth of illicit trade, Mr. Rajput said, “The Prime Minister’s call on ‘Vocal for local’ will create a conducive environment for the economy of the state government and play a major role in strengthening India.”
Mr. Manish K Sinha, IPS, Inspector General, Crime, Jammu and Kashmir Police emphasised on the need for policy level coordination between police and the industry bodies to address this issue. He was of the view of that counterfeiting has an adverse impact in Jammu & Kashmir as illegal trade not only leads to revenue loss to the government but also leads to unemployment amongst the youth in Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Sinha underscored that IP offences still lack focus of the police in the state, as there is no specialized anti-IP crime unit in J&K; there is no training imparted with respect to investigations of such offences to the officers and there is no incentive for officers vis a viz such crimes. Hence, efforts such as sensitization/training and having an anti-IP crime cell in the Economic Offences Wing in J&K could be made.
Mr. D P Dash, IRS, Former Pr. Director-General, DRI and Former Chairman, Enforcement Committee, World Customs Organisation (WCO) moderated the session and said that “As new medicines and vaccines will be beyond the reach of millions, this will lead to an upsurge in smuggling and counterfeiting, hence enforcement agencies have to gear up to face this challenge.”
The webinar also threw light on the efforts of the Industry in tackling the flow of illicit products during the current crisis; the role that the government and enforcement agencies can play to thwart criminals who are cashing in during the crisis and highlighted areas of concern in consumer safety. The webinar was attended by industry, government officials, officers from the enforcement agencies and stakeholders in this segment.Lear More
17/06/2020 | New delhi
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in halting economic activity across the globe. The way businesses are done will not be the same in a post COVID scenario, as this crisis has led to huge supply chain disruption. The pandemic has taught us the importance of local manufacturing, local market and local supply chain. As businesses suffer, during this crisis, any sale of illicit products will only worsen the socio-economic distress. While arresting this menace is vital, encouraging the use of indigenous goods will also play a defining role to eliminate this socio-economic threat. This will in turn promote ‘Brand India’, benefit Indian economy, reduce the demand of imported goods, avoid dumping of cheap products, create jobs and deter cross border illicit trade.
It is in the above background that FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) organized a webinar on Go Vocal for Local to Combat Illicit Trade’ on 17th June 2020. FICCI CASCADE has been over the years working closely with government, enforcement officials, industry, media, and consumers to create awareness on pan-India basis about the serious adverse impact of the menace of illicit trade on the security of the country, revenue of government, health and safety of people, etc.
Dr Ashwani Mahajan, National Co-Convener, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, dinstinguished speaker at the programme said that “In the name of free trade, many countries are promoting illegal trade. In such situation, it is very important to promote Swadeshi to boost the country’s economy and eliminate illegal trade”. He further added that “issues like dumping, under invoicing and smuggling have led to loss of revenue to the government, closing of domestic production and have impacted job opportunities for our youth.”
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE in his welcome address mentioned that “The Hon’ble Prime Minister’s clarion call for ‘vocal for local’ is perfectly timed and apt. In the recent months, the Covid-19 pandemic has created huge disruptions and pressed the reset button all over the globe. India will have to create world-class domestic brands which are competitively superior, and leverage the strength of our rich traditional product base and expertise. The time has come when we not only build Indian brands, but build brand India globally.
The panel discussion at the webinar was moderated by Mr. Najib Shah, Former Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE. Other eminent discussants included Acharya Balkrishna, MD, Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, Mr. Ashok Jain, Vice President, Finance and Company Secretary, Dabur India Ltd. and Ms. Vijayalakshmy Malkani, IP Counsel, Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
The webinar deliberated on how illicit trade is not only denting government exchequer but is also threatening local industries on which, depend livelihoods of many. In the Indian context, FICCI CASCADE’s recent report estimated that 16 lacs jobs were lost in 2017-18 due to smuggling in 5 industry sectors. The pandemic has resulted in massive loss of jobs and livelihood worldwide and countries are taking extraordinary actions to respond to this crisis. Hence, curbing cross border illicit trade will play a key role in abating this looming threat.
The deliberations in the panel discussion revolved around the following:
• Illicit trade hurts the country and needs to be effectively countered through a combination of policy intervention, enforcement and creating consumer awareness.
• Being self reliant or swadeshi in its true essence does not mean shutting the doors to FDI or trade; it is a strategy to grow our capabilities, source products from within the country and still be competitive.
• The youth of India can play an important role to end the country’s dependency on foreign goods. For the good of the country, government, industry and consumers must jointly take responsibility to stop illicit trade.
• Counterfeit products also come to India via the import channel through dubious means, which leads to loss of revenue for the government which could be used for healthcare, education, infrastructure expenditures.
• Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan is a movement to show faith and to support local manufacturers. Enforcement of laws to safeguard local brands and genuine manufactures against illicit trade and counterfeiting of their products is imperative. This will help build ‘Brand India’ and protect the rights of indigenously grown goods
The webinar brought together several industry players and other stakeholders to deliberate on this topical issue. Mr. Arun Chawla, Deputy Secretary General FICCI, in his concluding address harped on the fact that the uniqueness of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ or being ‘vocal for local’ is not that it is inward looking or being protectionist, it is a strategy to build for ourselves, reducing our dependence on imports and thereby promoting fair trade and curtailing cross border illegal trade.Lear More
Webinar on Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, New delhi
29/05/2020 | New delhi
The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the dangers posed by illicit trade. It calls for greater focus on addressing the growing hazards of counterfeiting and smuggling which are severely impacting the economy and endangering lives of people. 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 full advantage of the pandemic. It is evident that they will use shortages in the supply of goods to increasingly provide illicit alternatives especially in essential and non essential items both online and offline. The current situation which is already witnessing a severe socio-economic distress, sale of such spurious goods will only worsen the problem. Hence, arresting the sale of illicit goods at the time of this unprecedented crisis needs our immediate and unwavering attention.
As the risks associated with the current pandemic rises, law enforcement services play a crucial role in contributing to the effort to control the disease, promoting safer communities, and fighting criminals who take advantage of the outbreak.
With the above backdrop in mind, FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy [CASCADE] organized a webinar on Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond on 29th May 2020.
The keynote address was delivered by Dr. O P Mishra, IPS, Joint Commissioner of Police, Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police. Dr. Mishra said, “Increasing surveillance, creating public awareness, coordination amongst law enforcement agencies and stakeholders, and capacity building for police officers are needed to counter the problem of counterfeiting and smuggling effectively”. He further added that the gap between demand and supply results in the emergence of counterfeit and smuggled goods in the market. Talking about this menace in the Indian market, he remarked that counterfeiting has increased so much that it has become very difficult to distinguish between the genuine and fake products.
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE made the welcome address and mentioned that “Just like COVID-19, illicit trade is also an invisible enemy which has no colour, no religion and no mercy on human beings. In times of such economic crisis, when legitimate businesses are struggling, illicit operators are trying to exploit the current situation by flooding the market with smuggled and counterfeit goods.”
Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor FICCI CASCADE and Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi emphasised that COVI19 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. In particular, an increase in counterfeit healthcare products, fraud and cybercrime is being seen. This problem will only increase with respect to essential and non essential goods as relaxations take place and normalcy resume.
Several industry players and brand owners from leading companies participated in the webinar and deliberated on industry issues and challenges in containing the flow of illicit products during the current crisis and the need for strengthening enforcement & surveillance mechanism. Discussions revolved around the collaborative role of police and industry in thwarting this menace. Leveraging emerging technologies to battle illicit operators during the pandemic was also highlighted.
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 this menace. One of FICCI CASCADE’s mandate is capacity building of law enforcement agencies and we have 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.Lear More
Webinar on ‘Proactive Role of the Judiciary within the existing legal framework to combat economic offences such as counterfeiting and smuggling’ , New Delhi
01/05/2020 | New Delhi
An independent judiciary is one of the democratic pillars of the Indian constitution that plays a pivotal part as an interpreter of law to combat economic crimes such as counterfeiting and smuggling. Such crimes negatively impact legitimate economic activity and facilitate 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 imperative that the judiciary takes a wider vision which can comprehend the impact of such crimes on national economy, health and safety of the citizens and prevent the resultant damage to industry.
The cases related to economic offences such as counterfeiting and smuggling are on the rise, more so in the current COVID crisis, where illicit trading activities tend to gain momentum as illegal operators and infringers take advantage to push their products for consumption in times of such emergencies. With the above in mind, FICCI CASCADE organised a webinar to discuss the ‘Proactive Role of the Judiciary within the existing legal framework to combat economic offences such as counterfeiting and smuggling’ on May 1, 2020.
“A way to address the menace of economic crimes could be a coordination agency at national level which could also include cybercrime and online counterfeiting. This would also assist in data management and dissemination to ground level”, said Hon’ble Ms. Justice Prathiba M Singh, Judge, Delhi High Court, chief guest at the programme. Justice Singh shared the challenges of online counterfeiting and piracy such as user anonymity, statutory harbors, changing URLs, territorial limitation etc. She also informed that since economic offences hinder economic progress, the custom authorities have strengthened their import rules and courts are also very strict with such cases.
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said that counterfeiting, smuggling and piracy have emerged as the likely sources for financing of international terrorist organizations, non-state sponsored terrorist organizations and domestic terrorist groups. “Judiciary has to play a more proactive role in combating this menace so that the people who indulge in these unscrupulous activities will get stringent punishment,” he added.
Mr. Arun Chawla, Deputy Secretary General, FICCI, while opening the discussion, said that the laws were there; the need was for a proactive and tactful judiciary to handle such issues with competence, promptness and firmness. Although we have a vibrant judiciary which is enforcing the laws and protecting the rights of the citizen, huge pendency of cases in courts, lack of proper infrastructure and shortage of judges has always been a matter of concern.
Mr. Ranjan Narula, Managing Partner, RNA, Technology and IP Attorneys, emphasized on designing solutions based on business objectives. Appreciating the judicial system for its pro-activeness, Mr. Narula said that judiciary has given a simple mechanism for dealing with cases related to counterfeiting and has very well shaped the laws for it. However, he stressed on the need for better enforcement actions from the police on such matters.
Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE, in his concluding remarks, added that the menace of counterfeiting and smuggling was growing rapidly. Every effort, therefore, needs to be made to examine how these activities can be curbed with the help of Governments at the center and state, along with support of the enforcement agencies.
Through this initiative FICCI CASCADE sensitized over 100 students of reputed law schools and several legal practitioners across India on the issues and challenges in resolving economic disputes related to counterfeiting and smuggling. The webinar concluded with the idea that exchange of intelligence and information is fundamental to collaboratively combat illicit trade. Since the unprecedented situation of COVID 19 has elevated this problem, need for effective enforcement of laws is vital.Lear More
Webinar on ‘Protecting your Brand on E-Commerce Platforms – Battling the Odds Amid COVID-19 Pandemic’
The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the dangers posed by illicit trade. It calls for greater focus on addressing the growing hazards of counterfeiting and smuggling which are severely impacting the economy and endangering lives of consumers. With the current unpredictable situation, along with the commercial predicament, the need for protecting consumers and brand identities have become more important than ever before.
In the present scenario, with the physical brand protection efforts of industry, enforcement officials and government authorities minimized, winning back control of the online space, which could be hijacked by counterfeiters, has become increasingly important. With a view to deliberate on this issue, FICCI CASCADE organized a Webinar on ‘Protecting your Brand on E-Commerce Platforms: Battling the Odds Amid COVID-19 Pandemic’ on April 24, 2020.
The webinar had representatives from Amazon and over 70 industry delegates from India and across the globe participating in the deliberations. The focus was on discussing anti-counterfeiting strategies that would not only protect brands and consumers, but also deter illicit operators taking advantage of the pandemic.
Mr. Arun Chawla, Deputy Secretary General, FICCI, while welcoming the participants said that “E-commerce in India has seen a phenomenal growth over the years. From USD 39 billion in 2017, it is projected to rise to USD 200 billion by 2026. While the e-commerce services will grow, this growth will come with a set of challenges. The coronavirus epidemic has presented fresh challenges for the Indian economy, causing severe disruptive impact on both demand and supply side elements. Given the spike in consumer demand and the corresponding shortage of supplies from legitimate sources, it is imperative that businesses take steps to protect consumers from the proliferation of scammers and infringers that seek to take advantage of the crisis”.
Mr. P C Jha, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE and Former Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, in his address, highlighted that “while the sale of counterfeit and smuggled goods in the physical world is rampant and causing enough grief to industry, consumers and government, the size of illicit trade is estimated to be 3.3% of the global trade. The online counterfeiting ecosystem offers distinctive challenges that require a unique online approach”. Mr. Jha also indicated that criminals were seizing on the opportunity by taking advantage of the high demand for products and it was imperative that enforcement authorities were taking preventive initiatives.
The webinar was also addressed by Mr. Amaresh Kumar, Additional Commissioner, GST Policy, who stated that “the measures like the waiver of penalty, late fee and interest on GST will help the industry to tide through this tough phase”. He also invited suggestions from industry members on issues relating to GST and areas that required policy interventions.
Ms. Kaleigh Miller, Global Brand Relations Lead, Amazon, gave an overview of Amazon’s brand protection efforts globally. She informed that over 2.5 million bad-actor accounts have been stopped before they published a single listing on the site, highlighting the many measures taken by Amazon to detect the potential infringements and related remedial actions. She also highlighted Amazon’s sophisticated real time tools, like productive analytics, adaptive machine learning and technology that help review data sources and identify signals, identify inauthentic goods and take immediate action.
An overview of Amazon’s brand protection tools and efforts in India was given by Mr. Sumit Kapoor, Global Brand Relations Manager, Amazon, focusing on their brand registry program which provides powerful search and report tools. “It simplifies cases of potential infringement and provides a simple and guided workflow of submitting a report of infringement. It also helps to build the brand and business with promotional tools and customer analytics”, said Mr. Kapoor.
The concern today was that trade in illicit products, aided by the Covid-19 crisis, was enriching criminal groups and endangering health, while also draining away vital industry and tax revenues. The webinar saw participation of leading industries such as ITC, Hindustan Unilever, Nestle, Britannia, Puma, Johnsons & Johnsons, Dabur, Beiersdorf, Mars, HP, Pernod Richard, Diageo, Underwriters Laboratories, among others including leading law firms. Some key concerns flagged by the representatives from these major players were:
• Need for a mechanism to monitor parallel imports which are not meant for sale in India.
• Tools to monitor counterfeit products sold with non-refundable caveats and consumers from being duped due to low pricing point and higher discounts.
• Availability of automated brand protection tools to remove duplicates/fakes.
• Mechanism to ensure that required regulations are met before sellers put products on the portal.
• Time taken between listing of a merchant and identification of bad actors.
Most participants agreed that brands were struggling in the diminishing market, with cheap counterfeits creating new listings on online marketplaces. They conclusively agreed on the need for a technology-enabled system to help counter illicit operations, besides an effective and strengthened deterrence actions against perpetrators of such criminal activities.Lear More
Consumer Meet and Candle Light Congregation on Unite Against Counterfeiting and Smuggling- A Step towards Nation Building, Jaipur
Illicit trade decelerates nation’s progress, be it economic, social, environmental, besides impacting the safety and security of the country and its people. It is estimated that the global illicit trade is now of the size of about US $3 trillion. In order to address the menace of illicit trade, FICCI CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy) organized a consumer meet and candle light congregation on “Unite Against Counterfeiting and Smuggling- A Step towards Nation Building” in Jaipur on 14 February 2020.
Over 150 consumers with candles in their hands and banners stating, ‘Buy Make in India’, ‘Say no to Counterfeits’ and ‘Say No to Smuggled Goods’ partook in this initiative to highlight the need to fight the menace. The participants pledged against using fake and smuggled products in the larger interest of the nation’s economy. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vinod Shankar Dave, Former Judge, Rajasthan High Court, in his special address at the consumer meet, emphasized that the youth had to take the responsibility of acting as torch bearers in spreading the message of the perils of counterfeiting and smuggling. He further added that as responsible citizens, everyone must remember their fundamental duties towards making the country safe and prosperous.
According to Dr. K. L. Jain, Honorary Secretary General, Rajasthan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, strict penal provisions coupled with strong enforcement is the need of the hour which will create the much-needed deterrence to stop such offences.
Dr. Anant Sharma, National President, Consumers Confederation of India was of the view that the fight against illicit trade was for the nation, its progress and its future. As consumers it is our duty to stand shoulder to shoulder with the government and the industry in making India a fake and smuggled-free market. It culminated with a common consensus to strengthen the voice against illicit trade with increased awareness, collaboration and collective actions of all stakeholders.Lear More