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Illicit trade in goods causing untold damage to economy and society: Legal Affairs Secretary

Nov 01, 2018

Anti-Counterfeiting and Anti-Smuggling Awards presented to enforcement officers

NEW DELHI, 1 November 2018: Mr Suresh Chandra, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India, today said that the damaging impact of counterfeiting and smuggling is manifest in loss of industrial growth, the social cost that consumers have to pay and revenue loss to the government.

Addressing the 5th edition of International conference: 'MASCRADE, 2018' organised byFICCI CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy), Mr. Chandra said that producers were adversely affected as counterfeiting and smuggling slows down the growth of their industry, stunts the revenue potential thereby affecting the employment growth in the country. Secondly, it involves a social cost that consumers have to pay. Consumers are the ultimate victims of counterfeiting, smuggling and piracy through excessive prices paid for substandard products that increase exposure to health and safety risks. There is also a revenue loss to the government which has a direct bearing on spending on welfare measures such as on healthcare, education and public transport. Police and other enforcement infrastructure are also hit by this resource crunch which exacerbates the problem of grey market operations.

Highlighting the initiatives of the government to fight the menace of smuggling and counterfeiting, Mr. S. Ramesh, Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), said "In today's knowledge-based economy, the phenomenal growth in global trade and technology has positively affected many markets across the world. On the other hand, it has also offered opportunities for organized criminals to engage in illicit trade and counterfeiting". The Indian customs department has been a pioneering partner in facilitation of lawful trade, while curbing smuggled and counterfeit goods. CBIC is committed in fulfilling its role in combating smuggling and counterfeiting in cross border trade. It will relentlessly continue the battle against illicit trade which poses a threat to the national security, he said. 

Trade in illicit goods is highly pervasive across countries and sectors, representing a multi-billion-dollar industry globally that continues to grow. It is estimated that 8%-15% of global GDP is impacted due to illicit trade and criminal activities. Recent studies also estimate that globally the economic value of illicit trade could reach $2.3 trillion by 2022 and the wider social, investment and criminal enforcement costs could take the total to $4.2 trillion, putting at risk about 5.4 million 'legitimate jobs'. Hence, its existence and operation is broad in scope and large in value, impacting not only the global economy, causing losses to both industry and government, but is also adversely affecting the health and safety of the consumers.

The major reasons for smuggling in India has been attributed to high tariff rates, brand consciousness, lack of awareness, difficult enforcement, cheaper alternatives, demand supply gap etc. and it takes place in various forms such as mis-declaration, undervaluation, misuse of end use and other means. Smuggling has been a point of concern for Indian administration for past many decades. As per the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), narcotic drugs, gold and cigarettes account for the major smuggled goods in India. FICCI CASCADE reports estimate that in India amongst various sectors, the maximum revenue loss to the exchequer on account of counterfeiting and illicit trade is attributed to tobacco products, entailing a revenue loss of Rs. 9139 crore followed by mobile phones at Rs 6705 crore and alcoholic beverages at Rs 6309 crore.

Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE, said "The 5th edition of MASCRADE promises to provide an effective roadmap in reining in smuggling and counterfeiting. Every year we have made progress in our fight against this faceless enemy but there is still a long way to go. The subject of arresting the growth of illicit trade needs our immediate and unwavering attention as it exacerbates unemployment, bleeds the economy and causes tremendous physical, mental and societal distress."

Mr. Najib Shah, Former Chairman, CBIC, mentioned that illicit trade damages economy, results in loss of jobs and can be tackled by efforts and cooperation between agencies and by creating awareness amongst the public at large.

The conference saw a host of notable international speakers from World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), INTERPOL, United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), OECD, US Homeland Security and NBC Universal.  The key dignitaries participating in the two-day conference are: Mr. Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, Judge Supreme Court of India; Mr. Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and Industry; Mr. D. P Dash, IRS, Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence; Mr. M M Oberoi, Joint Commissioner of Police, Delhi Police; Mr. Justice Manmohan Singh, Judge, Delhi High Court (Retd.) and Chairman, Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) and Mr. S.K. Sharma, Legal Advisor, National Investigation Agency (NIA)

To encourage and acknowledge the work of our law enforcement agencies FICCI CASCADE also felicitated the best performing officers of the enforcement agencies for 2016-17 for their outstanding achievement in the prevention of counterfeiting & smuggling and enforcement of anti-smuggling & anti-counterfeiting laws. Earlier, CASCADE organized an inter-school elocution and painting competition on �Fight Counterfeiting and Smuggling� in which school children from across Delhi-NCR participated. CASCADE also conducted A #BeACascadeQuiz on its digital media platform where netizens took part in a quiz related to smuggling and counterfeiting.

The following are the award winners:

Dr. Amandeep Singh, Additional Commissioner of Customs, Indira Gandhi International Airport

Mr. Kiran Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Customs,  ICD Tughlakabad

Mrs. Pritee Chaudhary, Joint Commissioner of Customs,  SIIB, JNCH

Mr. Vivekanand, Appraiser, IPR Cell, JNCH

Mr. G. Rathinavel, Superintendent,  Customs (Preventive), Vizag

Mr. Sumit Kumar, Senior Intelligence Officer,  Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Delhi Zonal Unit

Mr. Ranjan Sen, Senior Intelligence Officer,  Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Kolkata Zonal Unit

Mr. Bhoopender Kumar, Sub-Inspector, Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police

Mr. Shankar Banerjee, Inspector, Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police

Inter-School Elocution Competition

1st Position: Alana Seby, of Class IX, St. Francis de Sales Senior Secondary School, New Delhi

2nd Position: Swapnil Srivastava, Class IX, Tagore International School, New Delhi

3rd Position: Prakriti, Class XI � B from DAV Public School, New Delhi

Inter-School Painting Competition

1st Position: Bhavya Wangnoo, Class IX, Birla Vidya Niketan School, New Delhi

2nd Position: Abhishek Rawat, Class X-A, Jindal Public School, New Delhi

3rd Position:  Joint winners:

a.      Isha Sihag, Class IX-A , Jindal Public School, New Delhi

b.      Muhammad Hibah Ihsan, Class IX-E, Delhi Public School, New Delhi

#BeACascader Quiz

Nishi Agrawal, Aakash Raj, Abhishek Kumar, Dinesh Verma

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