NewZNew (Shimla) : As a part of its series of nation-wide awareness campaigns to highlight the issue of growing menace of counterfeiting and smuggling, FICCI CASCADE (Committee against Smuggling & Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy), organized a seminar and candle light congregation at East Bourne Hotel, Shimla today. Over 100 students with candles in their hand and banners stating buy ‘Make in India’ and ‘Say No to Smuggled Goods’ participated in this congregation with much zest and zeal.
Speaking during occasion, Mr. Anirudh Singh, MLA from Kasumpti who was Chief Guest at the function said that counterfeits and smuggled goods were threatening the key elements of India’s growth strategy vis-à-vis technology, invention and innovation which were the key elements in India’s economic developmental agenda.
Congratulating FICCI CASCADE for taking the initiative to generate awareness among consumers on the perils of counterfeits and smuggled goods, Mr. Singh emphasized that illicit trade curbed the country’s economic independence. He 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.
Mr. P C Jha, Advisor, FICCI CASCADE & former Chairman, CBEC highlighted that amongst the various sectors, the maximum revenue loss to the exchequer on account of counterfeiting and illicit trade was attributed to tobacco products at 23%, estimating a revenue loss of Rs. 9139 crores.
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. Despite these actions, however, a study by FICCI revealed that counterfeit, piracy and smuggling rates were still remained high.
Meanwhile 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 FICCI-CASCAE, with the participation of all leading industries from all sectors of the economy.
Several international studies and reports point towards the nexus between cigarette/tobacco smuggling and funding of terrorism. Cigarette smuggling has now become a major security concern for many countries because terrorist networks are turning to this illicit trade to increasingly finance their criminal activities. It has also been reported that organized criminal groups, including those with ties to terrorist organizations, are engaged in illegal trafficking of tobacco products, including counterfeit tobacco products.
Ironically in HP, owing to state attracting a significant number of foreign tourists, there is an inherent demand for international cigarettes and the smugglers have flooded the market with international contraband cigarettes, which are pushed by the retailers because of high margins on them on account of evasion of Customs Duties and State Taxes. 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.