The hazards posed by counterfeit products such as FMCG, Pharmaceutical and packaged foods were highlighted at a capacity building seminar on combating counterfeit and illicit goods at Pragna Bhawan at Agartala on Saturday.
Speakers at the event discussed various aspects of the counterfeit goods and illicit product problem causing losses amounting to thousands of crores and serious health hazards.
The meet – ‘Capacity Building Seminar on Combating Counterfeit and illicit Goods’ was organized jointly by Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) and Finance Department of Tripura.
The programme was attended by officials of Excise Department of Tripura, Tripura Police and personnel of Border Police Force (BSF). Initiating the meet, Biswajit Chakrabarty, Director, FICCI – NEAC, described the role of FICCI in bringing together the stakeholders in one platform so as to address the menace of counterfeit and illicit goods in a consultative mode and suggested solution to the dual problems of economic loss as well as threat to public wellbeing.
Abhijit Saptarshi, Superintendent of Police, CID highlighted the new initiative named ‘Nasha Mukt Tripura’ and anti-drugs campaign by Tripura Police. He further emphasized the importance of consumer awareness and public support to the government for enforcement excise laws.
Nagesh Kumar B, Commissioner of Taxes & Excise and Jt Secretary Finance, Tripura expressed the daunting nature of the problem due to insufficient data. He highlighted that the government was working towards understanding the best practices of other states and develop an efficient system in Tripura.
Inspector General of Border Security Force (BSF), Hemant Kumar Lohia said the market for fake and smuggled products is one of the biggest challenges for all stakeholders. He invited the corporate houses to look into their pricing mechanism of products which are in high demand and also ensuring availability of products so that there is no gap in supply and demand.
Congratulating FICCI for organizing the program, M Nagaraju, Principal Secretary, Finance, Tripura, said counterfeiting business generates a lot of illegal money which is later used to finance terrorist activities globally. He coaxed FICCI to take lead to work with the industries and public together so that the ethical balance between profit and quality of human life is maintained.
Capt Shakeel Ahmed representing Diageo and the CASCADE committee of FICCI informed the participants that that around 65% people buy counterfeit goods knowingly. Terming counterfeiting a “menace,” he said counterfeiting has resulted in economic losses and yet there was a demand for cheaper products. The counterfeit products are mostly controlled by criminal syndicates and are also of poor quality. Thus, consumer awareness and capacity building of government officials is of paramount importance.
Addressing the participants, Gurpawan Singh, Managing Director of IIRIS, an international knowledge company, informed that counterfeit business has become very organized in India and is causing losses beyond 44% to the economy and industry.
Sarat Chandra Sinha, Nodal Officer Assam Excise Online Project and Sailendar Pandey, PRO to Assam Excise, Forest & Fisheries Minister described the initiatives taken by the Assam Government which have driven the revenue growth of Assam Excise department from Rs 7000 crore to Rs 17,000 crore in just two years under the new leadership in Assam.
Others prominent persons present at the occasion include R Saraswati, Addl. IGP of Tripura Police, Subhro Banerjee, Member FICCI-NEAC.