25/5/2017 | ITC Maurya, New Delhi
The existence and operation of illicit trade vis-à-vis counterfeiting and smuggling has been an enduring problem that has escalated in scope and magnitude, impacting industries, government, economies and, the health and safety of the consumers. Moreover, such operations have close links to terror organizations and criminal networks. In fact, it is today one of the biggest challenges faced by India and its industry, impacting the country’s image in the global arena.
FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE), over the years, has been actively focusing on curbing the problem of growing illicit trade in smuggled, pass-offs and counterfeit goods.
In pursuance of its agenda, FICCI CASCADE organized an interactive session on the ‘Impact of Illicit Trade on Industry, Economy and Consumers’ on 24th May 2017 at the ITC Maurya, New Delhi. The intent was to facilitate a wider exchange and ensure a multifaceted perspective to understand the gravity of the menace caused by illicit trade activities. The session focused on issues such as need for increased consumer awareness; strengthening of enforcement regime; impact of taxation policy; improvement in regulatory mechanism and enhanced stakeholder collaboration.
Ms. Sushmita Dev, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, was one of the key speakers at the event. She stated “Tax evasion needs to be seen as an anti-national act and illicit trade should be treated as a national threat,” She further emphasized on the need for a national agency to take over to stop the menace of illicit trade.
Mr. Arun Chawla, Deputy Secretary General, FICCI, in his welcome address, stated, “India today has the potential to become a global manufacturing hub. However, widespread smuggling and counterfeiting, in the absence of an adequate enforcement mechanism to stop it, can act as a dampener in achieving this goal. It is time that we, as a nation and as a part of the global economy, call for stern and resolute counterstrike force against such ill-intentioned activities.”
According to FICCI’s recent report, ‘Invisible Enemy: A Threat to Our National Interests’, the top five goods where the seizures by DRI has been the highest in the past few years have been – gold, cigarettes, machinery parts, fabric/silk yarn and electronic items.
The report also states that illicit trade operators are now switching over to cigarettes and fabric/silk yarn as they are low-risk, high-reward goods. As per the report, in the last one year, the DRI seizures of smuggled cigarettes has increased by 78% (from Rs. 90.75 crores in 2014-15 to Rs. 162 crore in 2015-16) followed by fabric/silk yarn, where the increase is by 73% (from Rs. 24.03 crores in 2014-15 to Rs. 41.78 crore in 2015-16). The seizures of gold have witnessed an increase of 61% (from Rs. 692.35 crore in 2014-15 to Rs. 1119.11 crore in 2015-16), while the DRI seizures of machinery parts and electronic items has seen a decline.
The interactive session was also addressed by eminent panelists including Mr. L. Mansingh, former Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India; Mr. Pankaj Kumar Singh, Additional Director, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Government of India; Mr. Pankaj Kalra,Country Manager, HPE India Pvt. Ltd and Ms. Deepika Raikwar, Regional Legal Manager, Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
Some of the key deliberation points that emerged from the panel discussion were as follows:
- 1. India is being used at a transit point for counterfeiting and smuggling. Stringent polices and strategic collaborations should be undertaken to counter this menace.
- 2. The responsibility also lies with consumers to counter counterfeits and smuggled products. Consumer need to be more aware and socially responsible to report fake and spurious goods.
- 3. Some consumers are unaware of counterfeit products, while some buy intentionally as they cannot afford branded products. There is a need of a transparent system and collaboration between stakeholders to manage this issue.
- 4. A single database for maintaining records of illicit trade should be maintained, which will make it easier for law enforcement agencies to act upon and control it.
- 5. Fast moving consumer goods, such as cosmetics, footwear, sunglasses, televisions, electronic products etc. are mostly counterfeited in the markets.
- 6. There is a need for increased information sharing between enforcement agencies and stakeholders for countering illicit trade.
- 7. Impetus on public policy is a must in countering this issue.
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE, in his closing remarks, emphasized, “Illicit trade is not just the enemy at the gates, but one that has broken through. All stakeholders must join hands to reign in this dangerous force.”
On the occasion, a film on FICCI CASCADE showcasing its achievements and activities since its establishment in 2011 was also released. Over 150 participants attended the interactive session and took part in the discussions.
Seminar on ‘Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling – An Imperative to Accelerate Economic Development’, Kolkata
20/4/2017 | The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata
Illicit networks are infiltrating and undermining licit markets, jeopardizing public health and safety, discouraging research and development, and eroding government revenues, thus hurting the economic development of the country.
FICCI CASCADE with a view to engage all relevant stakeholders, including government representatives, enforcement agencies, consumer activists, the media, industry, legal experts, and to sensitize them to fight against counterfeiting and smuggling, organized a seminar in Kolkata on “Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling– An Imperative to Accelerate Economic Development” on 20 April, 2017. The seminar brought experts in this field on a common platform to raise the concern over the growing illicit trade and to create large-scale awareness among the impacted segments of the society.
Shri Sadhan Pande, Minister-in-Charge, Consumer Affairs Department, Government of West Bengal, was the chief guest at the seminar. He stated that illicit trade was an increasingly growing global concern and could not be neglected. Hon’ble Minister added that such activities threaten India’s legal industry, adds social cost to consumers and cause huge loss to the exchequer. Emphasizing on the need of making the society aware on this subject, he highlighted that in India, the situation was being further aggravated with counterfeit and smuggled products getting into the country through our borders. Lauding the CASCADE campaign against illicit trade practices, the minister invited FICCI for joint publicity campaigns with Consumer Affairs Ministry on TV and Radio to increase awareness on the threats posed by counterfeiting and smuggling.
Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE and Retd. Special Commissioner, Delhi Police outlined the impact of counterfeiting & smuggling while assessing the gravity of the problem. “8-15% of global GDP is impacted due to Illicit trade and criminal activities. It is time that we, as a national and as a part of the global economy, call for stern and resolute counterstrike force against such ill-intentioned activities. Smuggling of drugs, luxury goods, cigarettes are a major source of funding the extremist groups. Thus, steps such as greater vigil at the borders, bilateral and multilateral engagements between nations, punitive action coupled with the right policy framework that dis-incentivizes this entire activity and consumer awareness campaigns which highlights the detrimental impact of illicit products are much needed to combat this menace”, said Mr. Chand in his address.
The seminar also held a panel discussion on ‘countering the menace of counterfeiting and smuggling- resolutions and possible solutions’, where experts from various fields discussed about the issue at hand.
Mr. Gaurav Vutts, Regional Legal Manager, Hindustan Unilever Ltd. said that we need to find the best measures to be adopted to counter the challenges of the growing flow of illegal trade. He emphasized on the need for effective collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders to curb counterfeiting and smuggling. Mr. Siddharth Wanchoo, Executive Vice President, Marketing, ITC Ltd. highlighted the problems faced by cigarette manufacturers, especially when the products are manufactured outside the country and smuggled into our country, tax arbitrage & counterfeiting.
He also emphasized on the loss of revenue to the legal industry and government due to this illegal trade. Mr. Robin Mackenzie, Global Marketing Director, De La Rue emphasized on the need for innovation in overt & covert features, track & trace capabilities of the products along with increased education and legislation to counter illegal trade. Mr. Debanjan Mandal, Partner, Fox & Mandal spoke on the challenges faced to counter illicit trade such as inadequate manpower, leakage of information, corruption, slow prosecution and IPR crimes not given adequate importance etc.
The seminar also marked the enthusiastic and encouraging support of enforcement officers. Mr. Akash Magharia, IPS, Superintendent of Police (Operations), CID, West Bengal, sharing his experiences, explained how the police department recently solved few dealings of counterfeit cement, edible oil, milk etc. in West Bengal. He also stated that porous borders increased the challenge of the Police Department especially in West Bengal as smuggled cigarettes, alcohol, and many other products flooded the market easily. “Right holders must register with customs authorities for better enforcement” observed Mr. M. K Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Customs (Port), Kolkata.
He further underscored on the need of addressing the issue of dumping cheap & poor quality products and sought support of stakeholders in finding strategies to curb this hazard. Mr. Sharma in his address said that trucks headed to Nepal from Kolkata port will soon have RFID tags to prevent tampering and theft by diverting vehicles midway. Both the enforcement officials underlined the need for consumer support to curb the problem of counterfeiting and smuggling and their active involvement towards the cause, and stressed on their registration of complaints with the police and custom departments.
Over 115 delegates attended the programme and the seminar saw vigorous interaction with delegates demonstrating an active interest in the issue. Hon’ble Minister along with the esteemed dignitaries affirmed support and active engagement to counter counterfeiting and smuggling as it needs constant strict and urgent actions.
Ms. Mousumi Ghose, Assistant Secretary General & Head, FICCI West Bengal State Council proposed the vote of thanks. Ms. Ghose concluded the seminar by stating that the problem of counterfeiting and smuggling was multifaceted and complex and needed to be discussed time and again, with government, to emphasize on effective and adequate laws and enforcement; increasing engagement with the industry and most importantly creating awareness in the society to curb illicit trade.Lear More
International Conference on Illicit Cross Border Trade in Goods: Impact on Economy and Consumers, New Delhi
8/12/2017 | The Leela Palace, New Delhi
Fighting the Invisible Enemy: Smuggled Goods, a Threat to India’s Interests
Across the globe, illicit networks are infiltrating and corrupting legitimate business markets, reducing productivity, and dis-incentivizing investments in research and development—not to mention, jeopardizing public health, emaciating communities’ human capital, and eroding the security of our institutions and governments. FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy [CASCADE] has, over the years, been concertedly addressing this issue through its various pan india awarness generation activities, building capacities of law enforcement officials and undertaking ground breaking research about the extent and impact of the menace.
In furtherance of its mandate, CASCADE organized its 3rd edition of its International Conference titled – Cross Border Illicit Trade in Goods: Impact on Economy and Consumers in collaboration with the Department of Consumer Affairs, Govt. of India on December 08, 2016 in New Delhi. The conference was organized with an aim to ensure that national and international stakeholders can dialogue with policy makers to identify opportunities for joint action between governments and the private sector to combat illicit cross border trade.
Inaugurating the conference, Shri Hem Pande, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, Govt. of India said, “Operations in illicit cross border trade is a global problem of enormous scale, impacting virtually every product sector and every country. The illicit market for fake or counterfeit or smuggled products is also one of the biggest challenges faced by Indian industry, which is impacting ‘Brand India’ globally. Given the key role of technology, invention, and innovation in India’s current economic development, the value of “Indian made” products where legitimate business owners’ rights are safeguarded is a key to sustain the country’s growth strategy. Addressing these issues cannot be done in isolation; it is a joint responsibility of consumers, enforcement agencies, the industry and the government.”
Dr. A. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, in his welcome address, stated that India today had the potential to become a global manufacturing hub. However, widespread smuggling and counterfeiting can act as a dampener in achieving this goal. It is time that India, as a nation and as a part of the global economy, call for stern and resolute counterstrike force against such activities. This has several elements, starting with greater vigil at the borders. Enforcement mechanisms at the borders are critical 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 the border-managing enforcement agencies are equipped to identify possible suspects and their victims in such ill-intentioned crimes.
Mr. Najib Shah, Chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) stated that illegal trade was a growing menace and the need of the hour was collaboration among stakeholders to tackle it. Growth of illicit trade through e-commerce is a new challenge, which also needs urgent attention. Unchecked, it will continue to multiply. We also need to lay equal emphasis on the rights of legitimate businesses, which are greatly impacted by illegal trade.
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman FICCI CASCADE, in his address said, “Transnational smuggling through international channels, involving outright smuggling of products or mis-declaring or under invoicing of values is a common and rapidly growing problem in India as in most other parts of the world. Robust regulations, prioritizing enforcement activity and providing sufficient enforcement rights to the agencies is the need of the hour. Increased vigil on our porous borders, especially in the backdrop of our relations with our neighbours should also be treated as a priority.” He further added that illicit trade remains a formidable adversary for the nation. The root cause of this is sometimes a policy framework that incentivises unscrupulous elements to take advantage and make inroads in the system. This encourages anti-social elements to dictate terms to the supply chain and create havoc for the public at large.
During the Conference, a report – ‘Invisible Enemy: A Threat to Our National Interests’ – focusing on the negative impact of smuggled goods on the Indian economy and businesses was released. According to the report, there are five goods where the seizures by the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has been the highest in the past few years. These five goods are:
3. Machinery Parts
4. Fabric/silk yarn
5. Electronic items
The report findings highlight that smugglers are now switching over to cigarettes and fabric/silk yarn as they are low-risk, high-reward goods. As per the report, in the last one year, the DRI seizures of smuggled cigarettes has increased by 78% (from Rs. 90.75 crores in 2014-15 to Rs. 162 crore in 2015-16) followed by fabric/silk yarn, where the increase is by 73% (from Rs. 24.03 crores in 2014-15 to Rs. 41.78 crore in 2015-16). The seizures of gold have witnessed an increase of 61% (from Rs. 692.35 crore in 2014-15 to Rs. 1119.11 crore in 2015-16), while the DRI seizures of machinery parts and electronic items has seen a decline.
Seizure of Smuggled Goods (Rs. Crore)
Product / Commodity
|Fabric / Silk Yarn||
The primary reason for the rise of smuggled cigarettes into India is the high taxes. Cigarettes smuggling is a low-risk, high-reward criminal activity because high taxes on cigarettes induce great financial incentive for smugglers to earn huge profits. Persistently increasing taxes on cigarettes provide a lucrative opportunity for tax evasion due to tax arbitrage between the country of exports and in the importing country.
On the other hand, the smuggling in fabrics/silk and yarn is primarily driven by the demand-supply gap and the dependence on imports. The Indian textiles industry faces acute shortage of raw materials in the form of cotton and raw silk. While India is the second biggest producer of silk, it is also the second biggest importer of silk in the world (India’s share in 12% of the total world imports) after Italy. India’s dependence on imports of silk and yarn has seen a consistent increase over the last 5 years, having grown from 0.8% to 1.12% of the total imports. This clearly indicates that domestic production is highly insufficient to meet the growing domestic demand, in turn fueling smuggling in the sector.
The conference highlighted and deliberated on issues such as Implications of Illicit Cross Border Trade on the global economy, Strengthening Border Management System for effective enforcement and need for an interdisciplinary approach to sharing market intelligence on illicit cross border trade. The deliberations explored the socio-economic consequences of cross border illicit trade and the policies needed to deter this activity. The discussions contributed to an integrated vision of national security and public safety, providing an interdisciplinary dialogue which will attract industry regulators, customs authorities, law enforcement, major producers of consumer goods, consumer associations and NGOs. With an underlying objective to deepen understanding of illicit trading activities across borders, effective strategies to dismantle such illegal business practices by the public and private sectors were sought.
The conference saw a host of notable speakers, national and international, from World Customs Organization, Delegation of the European Union to India, Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations, USA, Unilever, Sanofi, United IPR etc. It was also addressed by notable dignitaries including Mr. P. C. Jha, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE & Former Chairman, CBEC, Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE and former Special commissioner of Police, New Delhi, Mr. D. P. Dash, Principal Additional Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Mr. Rajeev Krishna, Inspector General (OPS), Border Security Force, Mr. Gaurav Tyagi, Commandant & Joint Director Anti-Smuggling & Narcotics Control, Coast Guard, Mr. A K Gautam, Deputy Inspector General, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Mr. Binod Nayak, Deputy Inspector General, Sashastra Seema Bal.
India has a committed border protection force plus enforcement agencies that is not only safeguarding the long national borders against trans-border criminals including smugglers and terrorists, but also ensures prevention of smuggling and enforcement of anti-smuggling & anti-counterfeiting laws. FICCI CASCADE acknowledges the efforts put in by the officers who show high standards of rigour and intelligence in prevention of smuggling and administration of related matters which impact Indian business and economy. To encourage and acknowledge the work of our law enforcement agencies, FICCI CASCADE also felicitated the best performing officers for the period 2015-16. The winners were as follows:
1. Mr. A K Parayil, Deputy Inspector General-Commanding Officer, Indian Coast Guard Ship Sangram
2. Mr. Sanjeev Kumar Singh, Commandant, Indo-Tibetan Border Police
3. Mr. S. N. Dubey, Deputy Commandant, FGT, Ferozpur, Border Security Force
4. Mr. Dinesh Kumar, Deputy Commandant, BIAAT (Dehradun), Border Security Force
5. Mr. S Sathianarayanan, Deputy Commissioner, Chennai III Customs
6. Ms. Mandeep Sangha, Deputy Director, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), New Delhi
7. Mr. Yogendra Kumar, Sub-Inspector, Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police
13/10/2016 | Seminar on Border Management and Illicit Trade
FICCI CASCADE in collaboration with Faculty of Studies, Border Security Force organized a Seminar on Border Management and Illicit Trade on 13th October 2016 in FICCI, New Delhi for the officers of Border Security Force.The objective was to address ways and means to combat illegal cross-border flows, facilitate cooperation &coordination among stakeholders and sensitize the officers on the magnitude of the menace.
The existence and operation of illicit markets such as smuggling has been an enduring problem that has escalated in scope and magnitude, impacting industries, government, economies and, more importantly the health and safety of the consumers. Moreover, smuggling operations have close links to terror organizations and criminal networks. In fact, it is today one of the biggest challenges faced by India and its industry, tarnishing the country’s image in the global arena.
FICCI, India’s voice for business and industry, has been actively focusing on curbing the problem of growing illicit trade in smuggled, pass offs and counterfeit goods, and accordingly has dedicated a forum by establishing CASCADE – Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy. FICCI CASCADE is working on creating awareness on tackling smuggling which is a serious menace to public health and safety, and why all concerned must address this grave threat to the economy, and the society at large. Among other activities, FICCI CASCADE has been organizing capacity building programmes for judiciary, police and customs officials in various states, equipping them to understand and take requisite actions against those indulging in illicit trade like smuggling and counterfeiting.
Shri Hansraj GangaramAhir, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, was the Chief Guest at the programme. TheMinister stated that safe borders were critical to the nation; hence collaborative and cooperative measures were required as an anti-smuggling initiative in the country.The Minister further congratulated FICCI and BSF for this joint initiative and urged for suggestions from FICCI to address the issue of illicit trade and smart border management.
Dr. Didar Singh, Secretary General FICCI in his welcome address stated that border guards were critical stakeholders in combating cross border illegal trading activities. It is time that we, as a national and as a part of the global economy, call for stern and resolute counterstrike force against such ill-intentioned activities of cross border illicit trade. This has several elements, starting with greater vigil at the borders. 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.
Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor FICCI CASCADE and former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhiemphasized on the fact that 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. A recent report by FICCI CASCADE on select 7 industry sectors estimated that the loss to the industry has increased by Rs. 32,412 crores i.e. 44.4% in just two years between 2011-12 to 2013-14. The estimated loss to the government on these seven sectors has increased by Rs. 13,049 crores i.e. 49.8% in just two years between 2011-12 to 2013-14.
Mr. K. K. Sharma, IPS, Director General, Border Security Force in his address said that the seminar was a welcome initiative taken by FICCI CASCADE; as such activities help the organizations and industries to contribute to a progressive nation building. This seminar will immensely help BSF officers to introspect their efforts through the prism of different perspectives from outside the organization and come out with more comprehensive and effective solution in addressing the issue at hand.
The inaugural session was followed by three plenary sessions on the Role of Enforcement Agencies and Challenges Encountered in Illegal Cross Border Trade; International Perspective on Illegal Cross Border Trade, and Market and Technologies – Latest techniques and procedures adopted and needed.
Noted and eminent personalities like Mr. Prakash Singh, IPS (Retd), former Director General, Border Security Force; Lt Gen SA Hasnain, UYSM, PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM (Retd), Mr. P. K. Mishra, Additional Director General (Retd) Border Security Force chaired the sessions. Some of the key highlights from the sessions included:
– Inter- Agency Coordination and Capacity Building
– Real Time Sharing of Information
– International cooperation with WCO, Interpol etc.
– Seamless surveillance of borders
– Better situational awareness, informed decision making
– Development of crime/ criminal database system for vulnerability mapping
– Gold, machinery, cigarettes, fabrics, and electronic items are the five most smuggled products in India
– In the perspective of hybrid warfare, illicit trade is an important factor which needs to be kept in mind.
The valedictory address was presented by Mr. M. L. Kumawat, IPS (Retd), Former Director General, BSF and Former Vice Chancellor, Sardar Patel University of Police. Mr. Kumawat highlighted the aspect of systems approach to address the issue at hand. He further added that itwas best to invest on human resources for solutions to illicit trade and border management. Keeping pace with technology and increasing the power of thinking will enable us to adopt a symbiotic methodology in tackling the problem.
This seminar saw a significant attendance of 150 BSF officers from across the country from Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jammu, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh etc.Senior officials and eminent speakers from Border Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal, Indo Tibetan Police Force, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Coastal Security,Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations, US Embassy, think tanks and leading industrieswere also present to discuss and brain storm on the subject matter.
On this occasion, a report on Need for Policy Reforms to Combat Illicit Markets – Case Study on Tobacco industry was also released. The report is an analysis of illicit trade of illicit cigarettes, which constitute a significant component of the tobacco industry and is leading to the loss of revenue to government, loss of business to the legitimate industry, livelihood opportunities, adversely impacting farmers, besides being a threat to national security.Lear More
Seminar and Candle Light Congregation on ‘Combating Illicit Trade – An Imperative to Accelerate Economic Development’, Lucknow
15/9/2016 | Lucknow
‘Fight Smuggling & Buy Genuine in the Larger Interest of the Nation’; This was highlighted at the seminar organized by FICCI CASCADE on Combating Illicit Trade – An Imperative to Accelerate Economic Development, followed by a Candle Light Congregation with enthusiastic participation of students and consumers, in Lucknow on September 15, 2016.
India’s economic growth story has attracted the world’s attention, bringing new challenges for the domestic economy. One of the major issues for the economy and the industry is the uninhibited growth of illicit trade. The market for illegal goods is thriving in India and has become one of the biggest challenges faced by Indian industry. FICCI’s committee against smuggling and counterfeit activities destroying the economy [CASCADE]works cohesively with leading industries from all sectors, governments, enforcement agencies and the consumers at large to address this malignant threat.
Mr Ravidas Mehrotra, State Minister (Independent Charge), Family Welfare, Women and Child Welfare, Government of Uttar Pradesh,The Chief Guest at the seminar and candle light congregation,congratulated FICCI CASCADE for initiating theyouth and consumer movement against illicit trade such as smuggled and counterfeit goods. The Minister emphasized thatactivities involving illicit trade,like smuggling, curbed the economic independence and one must pledge to not use such illegal products.
Mr. L K Jhunjhunwala, Chairman, FICCI Uttar Pradesh State Council, In his welcome address,stated that widespread illicit trade such as smuggling and counterfeiting, wouldincrease the risk of investments in India, hindering India’s ambitious agenda – ‘Make in in India’ which emphasized on making the country a manufacturing hub, and on building and strengthening R&D. It is time that we, as a nation and as a part of the global economy, call for stern and resolute counterstrike force against such ill-intentioned activities.
Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor of FICCI CASCADE, while outlining the socio-economic impact of smuggling, stated that apart from the visible consequences of illicit trading activities vis-à-vis adverse impact on innovation, investment and brand reputation, the bigger concern was the manner in which illicit trade such as smuggling and counterfeiting were impacting the social fabric of nations. Most importantly, it is weakening our desired economic development — an impact that seems too severe to tackle. He further added that while buying illegitimate good knowingly or unknowingly, consumers were being exposed to poorly made, unregulated sub-standard products that had detrimental impact on their health and safety, and the national economy at large.
Mr. R K Chaturvedi, Inspector General – Intelligence, UP Police Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh, In this address, emphasized on the fact that the job for law enforcement officials, such as police officers,wasfacilitated if consumers and general public joined the global fight against counterfeit goods, which was possible simply by avoiding purchaseof illicit products. The participation from the consumers at large in the fight against buying of illegal products is crucial to deter the growing circulation of such goods in the country.
Prof. Manoj Dixit, Head, Department of Public Administration, Lucknow University, lauded the initiative by FICCI CASCADE to bring the youth on board as they were an importantstakeholders for advocating socially responsible behavior, and the endeavor to influence the society as a whole.
Several steps are being taken by FICCI CASCADE and the government to create large-scale awareness among the most impacted segment of this menace: the consumer. The candle light congregation, being organised in Lucknow in association with Department of Consumer Affairs, under the ‘JagoGrahakJago Campaign’and Lucknow University, is one of a series of such events to be organised across the country as part of a nation-wide awareness campaign to highlight the issue and focus on the growing menace of Illicit Trade. More than 200students and consumerswith candles in their hand and banners stating ‘Buy Genuine Not Smuggled’ participated in this congregation.Lear More
15/7/2016 | National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics, (NACEN)
FICCI CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy) in association with the National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics, (NACEN) organized a capacity building programme on the ‘Socio-Economic Impact of Illicit Trade’ on July 15that NACEN, Faridabad. The objective was to sensitize trainee officers of the Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) on the ill effects of illicit trade, with special focus on the menace of smuggling, on the economy and on the society as a whole.
Ms. Reena Arya (IRS), Additional Director General, NACEN, the Chief Guest at the programme, in her welcome remarks,stated that illicit trade was a global problem of enormous scale, impacting human lives and virtually every industry sector around the world. India was no exception, suffering significant economic and health & safety consequences as a result of widespread smuggling and counterfeiting in the country. Ms. Arya lauded FICCI CASCADE’s initiative of sensitizing IRS probationers and stated that that this capacity building programme was opportune as FICCI was India’s premier trade body and the trainee officers would be the future economic guardians of the country.
Mr. P.C. Jha, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE and Ex-Chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs gave a detailed overview on the Socio-Economic Impact of Illicit Trade. In his presentation Mr. Jha highlighted FICCI CASCADE’s initiatives to curb smuggling and counterfeiting through various awareness programmes engaging industry, policy makers, law enforcement officials, voluntary organizations, the youth and consumers at large. He added that that one of FICCI CASCADE’s mandates was capacity building of law enforcement agencies including for Judges, Police and Customs Officers, and CASCADE had been working extensively in this area nationally, 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 illicit goods.
Dr. John Joseph, Principal Additional Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (HQ), in his presentation, emphasized the importance of mutual cooperation with international agencies to address the issue of illicit trade and smuggling. Dr. Joseph highlighted that illicit trade bypasses all controls comprising quality, price and revenue.
The capacity building programme was also addressed by Dr. Alka Chawla, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi and Advisor, FICCI Intellectual Property Education Centre, who gave a comprehensive overview on the scope and rights of enforcement in matters relating to economic offences. Ms. Rosanna M. Vetticad, Associate Director, Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI) took the probationers through facts and figuresof the extent of the losses caused by illicit trade to government and industry. She also explained the correlation of grey market operations and tax arbitrage which were causing a huge dent to the nation’s exchequer.
The programme further accentuated how smuggling was increasingly becoming a hugely lucrative business, with criminals relying on the continued high demand for cheap goods coupled with low production and distribution costs. The illegal activities related to smuggling take advantage of unaware consumers and bargain-hunters, exploiting people’s appetites for brands or simply their financial situation. The criminal networks behind this operated across national borders in activities that include the manufacture, export, import and distribution of illicit goods. Illicit trading activities affected everyone, with Governments, businesses and society being robbed of tax revenue, business income and jobs. The markets when flooded with such goods created an enormous drain on the global economy by creating an underground trade that deprived Governments of revenue for vital public services and imposed greater burdens on taxpayers.
Subsequently, representatives from three leading industry organizations, Capt. Shakil Ahmed, General Manager, Brand Protection, USL-DIAGEO, Mr. Syed Mahmood Ahmad, Director, the Tobacco Institute of India and Mr. Pankaj Kalra, Country Manager – Customer Experience & Quality, Hewlett Packard Enterprise India Pvt. Ltd shared their insights on how their industry were handlingissues related to smuggling. They also interacted actively with the officers on the ways and means to counter thisthreat.
Some of the key issues discussed were as follows:
1. Developing local intelligence is key to address the challenges related to smuggling
2. Coordinated and serious enforcement is one of the best ways to counter illegal trade in industry
3. Deterrence has to be created for effective enforcement
4. Spurious products posed a threat to health and safety due to the conditions under which they
were manufactured and the lack of regulation of their contents.
5. Industry to create and invest in a variety of brand protection measures and anti-counterfeit
6. Industry should be committed to working with law enforcement to deter any and all attacks
on its products and brand.
7. Cigarettes are among the world’s most illegally traded products. In India, illegal cigarette trade
is one fifth of total cigarette industry.Muggled and contraband cigarettes not only obstruct
country’s economic development but also undermine government’s health policy.
Mr. Dipankar Barkakati, Additional Director, FICCI proposed the Vote of Thanks.
The capacity building programme was attended by over 80 officers of Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) in day-long interactive event.Lear More
24/6/2016 | Bangalore
FICCI CASCADE organized a seminar on ‘Combating Illicit Trade – An Imperative to Accelerate Economic Development’ on 24thJune, 2016 in Bangalore. The objective of the seminar was to focus on spreading awareness on the alarming magnitude of smuggling and other forms of illicit trade.The seminar discussed the role of stakeholders in increasing awareness on the subject and enforcement issues in addressing this menace. The event broughttogetherexperts from different domains to raise concern over the rapidly growing levels of illicit trade and its impact on the economy.
Shri Om Prakash, Director General of Police, Karnataka, was the chief guest at the event. During his address, he highlighted the following key elements which were required to curb smuggling activities in the country:
· Use of research and intelligence to better understand the extent of the problem
· Educational and awareness generation campaigns that raise public knowledge on the problem and its impact on society
· A policy regime that severely penalizes those involved in illicit trade
· Provision for human and financial resources devoted to enforcement to ensure that laws are properly enforced and criminals are brought to justice
· Using technology to distinguish between legal and illegal products
Mr. Tallam R. Dwarkanath, Member, FICCI National Executive Committee and President, Federation of Karnataka chambers of Commerce & Industry, welcomed the dignitaries and informed that FICCI had always been a torch bearer for the betterment of society and the country at large. Mr. Kamath addedthat the need of the hour wasfor all stakeholders to concertedly fight against such unlawful activities that were greatly harming the nation’s socio-cultural milieu. Steps such as greater vigil at the borders, better enforcement and consumer awareness campaigns are neededto eradicate the menace of growing illicit trade.
Mr. Deep Chand, Adviser, FICCI CASCADE & Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi outlined the gravity of the problem that smuggling posed to the nation. He observed that illicit trade such as smuggling and counterfeiting not only creates a huge underground economy in which goods and services are traded illegally, but also funds criminal syndicates and terrorism that greatly endangers India’s national security. He informed that in 2012-2013, 35000 cases of smuggling& commercial fraud were recorded in India. The WCO Illicit Trade Report 2014 stated that in the excisable goods category, internationally tobacco products recorded the maximum cases of smuggling. Mr. Deep Chand also observed that smuggling striven to a large extent owing to high tax differentials that prevailed on products that are traded in neighboring areas. He also emphasized on the creation of a simplified tax regime along with awareness generation and stricter enforcement, which is important to address this issue.
The seminar also marked the enthusiastic participation of the panelists who deliberated on the need for consumer safety through increased awareness on the hazards of consuming smuggled and other illicit products. Mr. Somasekhar V K, Managing Trustee, Grahak Shakti,emphasized on the need to set up special courts to address economic offences as well as consumer concerns, and stressed on the strengthening of penal provision to instil fear among smugglers and counterfeiters.Ms. Rama Iyer, Advocate, Founder and Managing Partner, Ayana Legal,recommended that industry should keep a check on product price hikes,while the policy makers could look at levying reasonable tax rates to curtail trans-border movement of illegal products and deter the lucrative business of smuggling and manufacturing fake and illicit goods.
She also emphasized on the significant role that the media could play in spreading awareness on the issue and in enabling collaboration among st stakeholders to facilitate dialogue on the subject. Mr. T.S.M. Shenoy, General Manager, Finance, ITC Ltd,observed that consumers were the eventual victims of all forms of illicit trade, and they needed to be empowered to save themselves from the pitfalls of using illicit products. He added that making tax levels reasonable and consistent across regions would also greatly help in curbing smuggling activities in the country.
Senior officials from enforcement agencies deliberated on the subject of effective enforcement. Mr. D. Anil, Additional Chief Commissioner of Customs, Airport & ACC Commissionerate, Bengaluru, highlighted the role, that the customs department was playing in curbing smuggling and related activities. Presenting figures of seizure by his department, he informed that 75 lakh cigarette sticks worth Rs. 5 crore and smuggled gold of Rs. 30 crore were confiscated in Bangalore alone in the year 2014-2015. Mr. Bhaskar Rao, Additional Director General (Crime), Karnataka Police, emphasized that consumer and industry associations must strongly and repeatedly raise their voice on the issue of illicit trade to influence the government to take necessary steps in this regard. He stressed on the need to make the penal laws more stringent and take deterrent actions against smugglers. He also sought the support of all stakeholders, particularly the consumers, to help bring such illegal traders to the notice of the police department.
Mr. P. Anjani Kumar, Additional Director General, DRI, Bangalore Zonal Unit,while elaborating on India’s enforcement set-up and the various measures initiated to curb smuggling activities in the country, said that smuggling was a global problem, and India was no exception. He underlined the need for greater involvement of industry and consumers in registering complaints on illegal trade activities with the enforcement authorities. All the three panellists agreed that while illicit economic activities were damaging the country’s economic vitality, the nation’s security was also at stake as a result. The problem, therefore, needs to be discussed time and again, along with increased engagement with stakeholders and, most importantly, to generate awareness on the related ill effects.
The seminar witnessed vigorous interactions with delegates demonstrating an active interest in the problem. The event was attended by over 100 industry captains, representative from consumer forums, government officials and media associates.Lear More
15/1/2016 | New Delhi
FICCI CASCADE organized its 2nd edition of the International Conference on Illicit Trade – Threat to National Security and Economy on January 15, 2016 in New Delhi. The conference was organized to facilitate a dialogue between the stakeholders on the alarming magnitude of unfair trade practices such as counterfeiting and smuggling and spread awareness about its adverse socio-economic impact. The international conference highlighted and deliberated on issues such as Countering illicit market operations – synergies to secure our future; Challenges in the E-commerce Market Place; Border Protection: International Cooperation in Enforcement; and Understanding the value of legal trade practices – Building global competitiveness through Buy ‘Make in India’.
The Conference was inaugurated by Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Hon’ble Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. Hon’ble Minister in his address emphasized that we have, over the years, initiated several mechanisms to ensure consumer safety and check unfair trade practices; we must therefore empower consumers to seek discontinuance of such practices. We have to check and substantially reduce the illicit market operations to create a conducive environment for growth and development.
The conference saw a host of notable international speakers from World Intellectual Property Organization, (WIPO), U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Delegation of the European Union to India, Beiersdorf, Sweetyet Development Ltd, Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations, USA etc. It was also addressed by notable senior government officials such as Mr. Najib Shah, Chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs, Mr. Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India; Mr. Aramane Sai Manohar, IPS, DIG, International Police Cooperation, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India; Dr. A P Maheshwari, IPS, ADG Logistics, Border Security Force (BSF) and Mr. Mangesh Kashyap, IPS, Deputy Commissioner, Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Delhi Police.
On the occasion, FICCI CASCADE released a joint publication with Grant Thornton on ‘Emerging Challenges to Legitimate Business in the Borderless World’.
18/12/2015 | Bangalore
‘Counterfeits and smuggled goods are threatening the key elements of India’s growth strategy vis-à-vis technology, invention and innovation which are the key elements in India’s economic developmental agenda’. This was highlighted at the candle light congregation organized by FICCI CASCADE in Bengaluru. It was emphasized that activities involving such illicit trade curbed the country’s economic independence. As a part of its series of nation-wide awareness campaigns to highlight the issue of growing menace of counterfeiting and smuggling, FICCI CASCADE (Committee against Smuggling & Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy), organized a candle light congregation at Jain College on December 18, 2015. Over 200 students with candles in their hand and banners stating ‘Buy Make in India’ and ‘Say No to Smuggled Goods’ participated in this congregation with much zest and zeal. This congregation urged all to take a pledge against using fake products and to fight the menace of smuggling which was in the larger interest of the nation’s economy.
Mr. P C Jha, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE & former Chairman, CBEC stated that according to a recently released FICCI CASCADE study,the total loss to the government estimated for 2014, on account of the illicit markets in respect of seven manufacturing sectors was Rs 39,239 crores. Further, during the last twenty years, the volume of the counterfeiting activity has increased 100 times and the size of trade in counterfeited goods is 10% of the legal international trade.He observed that the need for awarenessof consumers,particularly the youth, on illicit trade practices as vital. Mr. Jha also emphasized that purchases, as far as possible, should be done against bills.
Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE and former Special Commissioner, Delhi Police, stated that the Indian Government had initiated various steps to address counterfeiting, piracy and smuggling. Despite these actions, a study by FICCI CASCADE reveals that counterfeiting and smuggling rates are still very high. Mr. Chand said that illicit trade such as counterfeiting and smuggling was an economic offence, created a black market or underground economy, in which goods and services were traded illegally. Consumer participation at large in the fight against counterfeiting and smuggling is crucial to determine the growing circulation of such goods.
In order to highlight the magnitude of illicit trade activities like counterfeiting and smuggling, FICCI CASCADE also organized an Interactive Session with media on ‘Illicit Trade – A Threat to our National Interest’, on 17 December, 2015 in Bengaluru. Mr. M. Chandra Sekhar, Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime, Bengaluru was the key speaker at the press conference. Mr. Sekhar stated that India is one of the largest economy in the worlds which is prone to the threat of counterfeiting and smuggling. The police would play a very important role here as economic frauds need to be addressed at all the levels by the police department. Additionally he emphasized that unless we cut the proceeds of crime, our fight against smuggling and counterfeiting will not come to a logical conclusion. Some of the key take ways from the suggestions made by Mr. Chandra Sekhar are as follows:
1. Need for a nation-wide database for such economic crimes and criminals
2. Time bound legislative process
3. Greater awareness campaigns for consumers with active participation from industry
4. Reward policy for both the informant and the enforcement agencies reporting on illicit trade
activities through PPP initiatives
5. Special units / courts to address economic offences
The interactive session was well attended and covered by the media