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Illicit activities create adverse impact on India’s aspiration of becoming $5 trillion economy: DIG- UT, Chandigarh

Jun 27, 2023

  • Need to collectively address menace of illicit trade 

CHANDIGARH, 27 June 2023: Mr Deepak Purohit, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG)- UT, Chandigarh today said, “Illicit activities such as counterfeiting and smuggling creates an adverse impact on our aspirations of becoming a 5 trillion-dollar economy, this clandestine activity undermines legitimate businesses, siphons off government revenue, and stifles economic growth. To realize our vision, we must collectively address the menace of illicit trade, fortifying our economy against its corrosive effects.”

Addressing the ‘Capacity Building Program for Police Officers on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling’ organized by FICCI-CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy), Mr Purohit stated that the scourge of counterfeiting and smuggling undermines the very essence of our mission of Amrit Kaal. These illicit activities not only cripple our economy and rob legitimate businesses of their rightful earnings but also jeopardize the well-being of our society. He added that the consequences of counterfeiting and smuggling extend beyond mere financial losses and create breeding grounds for anti-national elements, enabling the activities of terrorist networks. This underscores the urgent need for law enforcement agencies to be well-equipped and knowledgeable in safeguarding consumers from the inherent dangers associated with these illegal practices, he emphasized.

Mr Purohit emphasized the crucial importance of establishing an in-house training module within the police department which would serve as a comprehensive resource for enhanced learning and empowering officers with the necessary skills and knowledge to combat counterfeiting and smuggling effectively. By equipping ourselves with the right tools and awareness, we can staunchly protect our communities and preserve the ideals of Amrit Kaal, he asserted.

Mr Deep Chand, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE and Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi said, “The grey market is fuelling illegitimate industry, leading to an increased criminalization in society. This capacity building program is aimed to sensitize the Chandigarh police officers on the importance of continued awareness and seriousness of the impact of counterfeit and smuggled products.”

He further stated that as per the FICCI CASCADE’s recent report ‘Illicit Markets: A Threat to Our National Interests’, the unlawful trade in the five key industries (Mobile Phones, FMCG-Household and Personal Goods, FMCG-Packaged Foods, Tobacco Products, and Alcoholic Beverages) results in a total estimated legitimate employment loss of 15.96 lakh. The estimated tax loss to the government due to illicit goods in these industries is Rs 58,521 crore, with two highly regulated and taxed industries, tobacco products, and alcoholic beverages, accounting for nearly 49 per cent of the overall tax loss.

Col Atul Yadav, General Manager- North, Industry Affairs, ITC Ltd. said, “Illegal activities such as counterfeiting and smuggling are flooding the market with substandard fake and smuggled products which are produced without following quality norms at unhygienic places, and are sold illegally, thus contributing towards increase in unaccounted money.” He added that a major driver for the rampant increase of smuggling is high taxes which create a significant arbitrage to fuel such activities. The extent of smuggling in the country is a cause of great concern. However, to effectively tackle the growing menace of smuggling in India, a lot more needs to be done to make the compliance and processes more robust and detection of such crime easier, he stated.

Mr Gagan Rajpurohit, Legal Counsel, HUL said, “Counterfeiting and Smuggling is a global problem of enormous scale, impacting virtually every industry sector around the world.  It destabilizes the legal industry, reduces government revenues, leads to terror financing and hampers the health and safety of the consumers.”

In an effort to address the rising issue of counterfeiting and smuggling, over 80 police officers from the Chandigarh Police underwent a comprehensive training program. The capacity building initiative aimed to equip the officers with in-depth knowledge and effective strategies to combat these illicit activities. The program emphasized the urgent need for law enforcement agencies to stay ahead of the evolving challenges posed by counterfeiting and smuggling, which have global implications.

FICCI 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 the problem of counterfeiting and smuggling.  Among other activities, FICCI CASCADE has been regularly engaging with law enforcement agencies including police, customs and paramilitary organizations engaged in border protection in sensitizing them on the gravity of the problem.

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