There is a need to have an agency like the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to curb rising illegal trade, which is affecting industries, the economy and consumers, Congress MP Sushmita Dev has said. According to a report by industry body FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying Economy (CASCADE), the total loss to the government on account of illegal trade in just seven manufacturing sectors in 2014 was Rs 39,239 crore.
Asserting that a huge amount of money from illegal trade, smuggling and counterfeiting goes to funding terrorist activities and to criminal networks, she said an agency was required to ensure that such activities were stopped, especially near international borders. “A national agency like the NIA is required to take over the task of ensuring that counterfeit goods do not enter our economy,” Dev said during a discussion organised by the FICCI on “Impact of Illicit Trade on Industry, Economy and Consumers” here yesterday.
“A single database for maintaining records of illicit trade will make it easier for them (law enforcement agencies) to control it,” she added.
The NIA was set up in 2009 to probe terror cases. Lack of awareness among consumers was one of the biggest reasons for illegal trade to thrive in the country, Pankaj Kalra, Country Manager for HPE India, said.
“Some people are unaware about counterfeit products, while some buy them because they cannot afford the branded ones. We need to have a transparent system. There should be a collaboration between all stakeholders to manage this,” he said. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) Consumer Forum Chairman L Mansingh and DRI Additional Director Pankaj Kumar Singh also took part in the panel discussion.