Speaking at the 4th edition of “MASCRADE-2017″ International Conference organised by FICCI CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy) on October 12, in New Delhi Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, Member, Customs, Central Board of Excise and Customs, Government of India maintained that there was a need to create ownership and build a relationship of trust between the government agencies and private sector and create a level-playing field for the stakeholders to curb tax evasion, black economy and revenue losses.
Mr Das also highlighted several initiatives undertaken by the Government of India to fight the menace of smuggling and counterfeiting. “CBEC is a potent force ready to partner with FICCI and private sector to fight against illicit trade,” he added.
The conference was inaugurated by Mr. Shatrughan Sinha, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha. The theme of this year’s conference was “Protect Your Brand Globally: Fight Counterfeiting, Smuggling and Piracy.” According to FICCI sources, the conference was organized with an aim to ensure that national and international stakeholders can dialogue with policy makers to identify opportunities for joint action between governments and the private sector to combat illicit cross border trade.
“It is high time and the right time for promotion, protection and projection of India’s goods and to fight against smuggling, counterfeiting and illicit trade. Stakeholders should take this agenda to the global platform and engage NRIs in the movement against illicit trade. FICCI CASCADE’s commitment and drive to curb smuggling and illicit trade was helping in creating awareness. Much more is needed to be done to change the general mind set regarding the use of smuggled and illicit goods,” Mr Sinha observed.
It is pertinent to mention that smuggling takes place in various forms- mis-declaration, undervaluation, misuse of end use and other means. The seizure value for mis-declaration of goods stood at INR 1,187 crore in 2016, while that of undervaluation of goods stood at INR 254 crore. The seizure value from misuse of end use was at INR 2,780 crore, seeing a rise from INR 953 crore in 2015, suggesting an increase of 190 per cent in 2016 from the previous year.
Smuggling has been a point of concern for Indian administration for past many decades, with narcotic drugs, gold and tobacco accounting for the major smuggled goods. As per the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the value of seizures for gold and cigarettes in the year 2016-17 stood at INR 435 crore and INR 78 crore respectively.
“Proceeds from Illicit trade are increasingly becoming the main source of terror funding. We need to understand this relationship and work towards effective mechanisms to counter its worldwide impact. It’s a race against time as all of us are the stakeholders. The policymakers are steadily taking steps but the need of the hour is to seek bold and out of the box solutions,” suggested Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE in his welcome address.
To encourage and acknowledge the work of India’s law enforcement agencies FICCI CASCADE felicitated the best performing officers for the period 2016-17 for their outstanding achievement prevention of counterfeiting & smuggling and enforcement of anti-smuggling & anti-counterfeiting laws from several Government agencies.
At this conference a FICCI-KPMG report namely “Illicit Trade: Fueling Terror Financing and Organised Crime” was also released, which focused on improving common people’s understanding of the nexus between terror financing, organised crime and illicit trade.
FICCI-KPMG Report Recommendations to control the illicit trade:
- Better awareness about counterfeit and smuggled products through government initiatives.
- Government and industry can join hands to run campaigns for reducing the market of counterfeit and pirated goods.
- Task forces can be formed to check the growth of illicit trade and links between terrorism, organised crime and illicit trade.
- Government can draw a balance between its revenue needs through taxation and the incentives illicit market gets through increased taxes on goods
The conference was also addressed by Mr. Sergey Kapinos, United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, Regional Representative, South Asia, speakers from World Customs Organization (WCO), INTERPOL, United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Organization for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD), US Homeland Security and US Patents and Trademarks Office, Louis Vuitton, Beiersdorf, PUMA and other dignitaries.