Seminar on Border Management and Illicit Trade, New Delhi
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.
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