New Delhi, 28 March 2022: 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 CASCADE organized an interactive session on the ‘Strategies to Combat Smuggling and Counterfeiting’ on 26th March 2022 in Amritsar. The objective was to facilitate a wider exchange of ideas and ensure a multifaceted perspective to understand the gravity of the menace caused by illicit trade. The session focused on issues such as need for increased consumer awareness; strengthening of enforcement regime; improvement in regulatory mechanism and enhanced stakeholder collaboration.
Highlighting the global menace of counterfeiting and smuggling, Justice Manmohan Sarin Former Chief Justice Former Lokayukta, NCT of Delhi, Chief Justice, High Court of Jammu & Kashmir & Judge, Hight Court of India said, “The World Economic Forum, stated that illicit trade has resulted in an annual drain of US$2.2 trillion which is approx. 3 percent of world GDP in 2020.”
While complimenting the enforcement officers of Punjab who have been relentlessly pursuing smugglers and counterfeiters, he said that their hands-on approach has led to large number of seizures in the state of fake and smuggled consumer goods, alcohol, food products, gold, cigarettes, fertilizers and others.
Mr Rahul Nangare, Commissioner of Customs (Preventive), Amritsar said that 32 kgs of gold from Afghanistan, 584 kgs of heroine from Pakistan and 483 kgs of cannabis were seized by enforcement authorities, recently. Talking about the menace of smuggling, he underscored the importance of inter-agency coordination, international collaborations, capacity building of officers and need for modern examination machine are imperative for creating a balance between enforcement and trade facilitation.
Mr Sanjay Gaur, Deputy Inspector General, Border Security Force, Punjab highlighted the challenges such as difficult terrains, extreme climate and porous borders faced by BSF officers in their day-to-day operations in managing the security. “Items such as heroines, arms and ammunition, FICN, gold, silver, tobacco are most smuggled items across borders,” he added.
The interactive session was also addressed by eminent members including Dr. Debi Prasad Dash, Former Principal Director General, DRI and Chairman, Enforcement Committee, World Customs Organisation, Mr. Hem Kumar Pande, Former Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, GoI, Mr. Sanjeev Tripathi, Former Chief Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), GoI, Ms. Kameswari Subramanian, Former Chief Commissioner of Central Excise Customs and Service Tax, Bangalore Zone & International Expert, Customs Law, Procedures & Trade facilitation, Mr. Narendra Sabharwal, Former Deputy Director General, WIPO, Geneva, Chairman, FICCI – IP Committee, Mr. P K Malhotra Former Secretary, Ministry of Law & Justice, GoI, Dr. Guriqbal Singh Jaiya Former Director, SME Division, WIPO and Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor, Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi & Advisor, FICCI CASCADE
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.