Correspondent (Delhi) Mr Sanjay Kumar Shukla, Principal Secretary, Industrial Policy and Investment Promotion, Madhya Pradesh Government yesterday said, “The government, law enforcement agencies, industry and consumers must come together to identify the gaps and act in a coordinated way to address counterfeiting and smuggling.”
Addressing a webinar ‘Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond’, organized by FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE), Mr Shukla said that in order to eliminate this problem in India, FICCI can share international best practices and actionable points to the government on how other countries have been able to counter this problem successfully.
Mr Vipin Maheshwari, Additional Director General, Special Task Force, Madhya Pradesh Police said “COVID-19 is a wakeup call for all of us. No product category has been spared, be it milk, cosmetics, clothes, footwear, seeds, fertilizers or pharma.” Sustained awareness campaigns for people, necessary amendments in laws, increasing penalties and sentences, more product testing laboratories are some areas where the government, police and business community should work together, he added.
Mr P K Malhotra, Former Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, GoI and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE said, “Smuggling and counterfeiting harms the economy in multidimensional ways and the problem has been aggravated by globalization and increased mobility.” He emphasized that effective coordination between central and state agencies, strengthening domestic manufacturing, addressing the demand and supply gap and leveraging technology are needed to make a conducive environment free from illicit products.
Mr Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said, “I must compliment the Madhya Pradesh government and the enforcement agencies for relentlessly pursuing the perpetrators of illicit trade. Despite the mammoth challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, their hands-on approach and alertness has been highlighted by seizures of large number of cigarettes, liquor, synthetic milk, fake currency and much more. I’m confident that going forward they will keep up their stellar performance and continue to play an extremely important role in our fight against illicit trade”.
The webinar was organized to discuss and understand the disruptions caused by the pandemic which have opened multiple avenues for fraudsters to prey upon susceptible organizations and consumers. As new vulnerabilities emerge, and existing vulnerabilities at greater risk of exploitation by criminals, tackling this global scourge has become even more acute and urgent in the current scenario.
The webinar highlighted the need for policy level coordination between government and the industry to address this menace. Illegal trade not only leads to revenue loss for the government but also leads to unemployment and hence a more focused and collaborated approach along with training and sensitization of enforcement officers for such crimes was emphasized. The webinar was attended by industry, government officials, officers from the enforcement agencies and stakeholders in this segment. The webinar focused on the state of Madhya Pradesh and was a part of a series of such interactions to be organized across the country by FICCI CASCADE to highlight this issue and elicit response from different states. Mr Dinesh Patidar, Chairman, FICCI Madhya Pradesh State Council and CMD, Shakti Pumps India Ltd. made the concluding remarks.