New Delhi: Dr Mehraj-ud-din Rather, Additional Secretary, Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Govt. of J&K yesterday said that COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the dangers posed by illicit trade. These times call for greater focus on the growing hazards of arms smuggling and counterfeiting by taking immediate steps to curb the illegal activities.
Addressing the 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), Dr Rather said, “Many consumers are unaware of the dangerous nature of deceptive counterfeit products.” Speaking on the role of consumers, he mentioned, “The attitude of consumers towards buying counterfeit goods needs to change. Constant vigilance and consumer awareness will play a key role in combating the growing trade of illicit goods.”
Mr Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said, “The UT of J&K is particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of illicit trade, and this is due to the environment of instability created by the hostility amongst the neighbouring nations.”
Complimenting the role played by the enforcement agencies of J&K to check the growth of illicit trade, he further said, “The Prime Minister’s call on ‘Vocal for local’ will create a conducive environment for the economy of the state government and play a major role in strengthening India.”
Mr Manish K Sinha, Inspector General, Crime, Jammu and Kashmir Police said, “Counterfeiting has an adverse impact in Jammu & Kashmir as illegal trade not only leads to revenue loss to the government but also leads to unemployment amongst the youth in Jammu and Kashmir. To address the issue, there is a need for policy level coordination between police and the industry bodies.”
Mr D P Dash, Former Pr. Director-General, DRI and Former Chairman, Enforcement Committee, World Customs Organisation (WCO) said, “As new medicines and vaccines will be beyond the reach of millions, this will lead to an upsurge in smuggling and counterfeiting, hence enforcement agencies have to gear up to face this challenge.”
The webinar also deliberated on the industry efforts in tackling the flow of illicit products during the current crisis; the role that the government and enforcement agencies can play to thwart criminals who are cashing in during the crisis and highlighted areas of concern in consumer safety. The webinar was attended by industry, government officials, officers from the enforcement agencies and other stakeholders.