Fight Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting
FICCI CASCADE urges students to Buy ‘Make in India’ and ‘Say No to Smuggled Goods’ in the Larger Interest of the Nation
‘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 to the participating students that activities involving such illicit trade curbed the country’s economic independence and they were urged citizens 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.
India’s economic growth story has attracted the world’s attention, bringing new challenges for the domestic economy. One of the major concerns for the economy and the industry is the uninhibited growth of counterfeit, fake and smuggled goods. The market for fake and counterfeit products is thriving in India and has become one of the biggest challenges faced by Indian industry and commerce. Industry body FICCI has set up a Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying The Economy – FICCI-CASCADE, with the participation of all leading industries from all sectors of the economy.
Mr. P C Jha, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE & Former Chairman, CBEC highlighted that a recently released report of FICCI CACADE estimated the total loss to the government in for 2014, on account of the illicit markets in the manufacturing industry, was Rs 39,239 crores in seven specific sectors, up from Rs 26,190 crores in 2012. The loss is inclusive of both indirect and direct taxes — the indirect taxes component is Rs. 34,020 crore and direct taxes is Rs. 5,218 crore. The study has also revealed that during the course of just two years from 2011-12 to 2013-14, revenue loss to the Government had grown-up exponentially by Rs. 13,049 crores, an increase by 49.8%. Amongst the various sectors, the maximum revenue loss to the exchequer on account of counterfeiting and illicit trade is attributed to tobacco products at 23%, estimating a revenue loss of Rs. 9139 crores.
Among the sectors most prone to illicit trade are FMCG packaged & personal goods, mobile phones, auto components, tobacco and alcoholic products and computer hardware. Also, data available from several studies show that there is strong relation between illicit trading activities and funding of terrorism. Terrorist networks are turning to this illicit trade to increasingly finance their criminal activities. This is especially true for cases of cigarette/tobacco smuggling.
Karnataka has also seen growth in counterfeiting and illicit trade in these sectors in the last couple of years. It is also one of the fastest growing markets for illegal / tax-evaded cigarettes in the country. Smuggled international contraband cigarettes also contribute significantly to the menace of illegal cigarettes in the Karnataka. These smuggled cigarettes also defeat the tobacco control objectives of the Government as they do not bear any health warnings required as per Indian law.
Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE & Former Special Commissioner, Delhi Police, stated that the Indian Government had initiated steps to address counterfeiting, piracy and smuggling. Two major efforts stand out. First, the legal framework is fairly well developed in India. Second, the government has taken steps to protect consumers’ health and safety from dangerous counterfeits through significant education efforts. Despite these actions, however, a study by FICCI shows that counterfeit, piracy and smuggling rates remain high. Mr. Deep Chand urged the consumers to be aware of the dangers of illicit trade menace and fight this menace unanimously.
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 has been organised in Bengaluru as a part of a series of such nation-wide awareness campaigns to highlight the issue of the growing menace of Counterfeiting and Smuggling. More than 200 students with candles in their hand and banners stating Buy ‘Make in India’ and ‘Say No to Smuggled Goods’ participated in this congregation in the city.