'Need for close cooperation between police & customs to combat illicit trade'

New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS): D.P. Dash, Former Principal Director-General, DRI and Former Chairman, Enforcement Committee, World Customs Organisation (WCO) and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE has emphasized the need for close cooperation between police and customs organizations to combat the menace of illicit trade and take actions more appropriately.

Addressing the concluding session of MASCRADE 2021 (Movement Against Smuggled and Counterfeit Trade) organized by FICCI's Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) said that effective enforcement with industry and govt participation will act as a vaccine against the virus called counterfeiting and smuggling.

Various discussions during the session noted that as per estimates by UNODC, the profits that the transnational organized crime derived from the shadow industries have been estimated to be as high as $ 870 billion, which is equivalent to 1.5 per cent of the global GDP. It is seen that prominent terrorist organizations rely on illicit trade for financing up to 20 per cent of their anti-social operations.

Talking about the preparedness of Delhi Police to address such crimes, Suvashis Choudhary, IPS, Jt Commissioner of Police, Delhi Police emphasized, "The police, now, is stressing on crimes related to illicit trade". Choudhary further highlighted the impending problem of counterfeit vaccine that the police will have to deal as the country prepares for the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said, "It is a fact that the Industry is reeling under the impact of the COVID pandemic with some sectors expected to make faster recovery. For many others it will be a slow and painful way back to the pre-COVID levels."

Drawing similarities between illicit trade and the COVID pandemic, Rajput said, "COVID virus and illicit trade have a lot in common as both cause immense economic, social and individual distress. While we are at a point of countering the virus, it is illicit trade that has and continues to damage humankind in a massive manner".

It was noted that the fake FMCG market is growing at an annual rate of 44.4 per cent and this is higher than the growth rate of the overall FMCG market.


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