Sanjay Kumar Shukla. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, July 30 : Principal Secretary for Industrial Policy and Investment Promotion of the Madhya Pradesh government, Sanjay Kumar Shukla has said that the government, law enforcement agencies, industry and consumers must work in tandem to avoid counterfeiting and smuggling.

Addressing a webinar on "Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and Beyond", organised by FICCI's Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE), Shukla said that in order to eliminate this problem in India, FICCI can share international best practices and actionable points with the government on how other countries have been able to tackle this problem successfully.

"The government, law enforcement agencies, industry and consumers must come together to identify the gaps and act in a coordinated way to address counterfeiting and smuggling," he said.

Vipin Maheshwari, Additional Director General, Special Task Force of the Madhya Pradesh Police, said that COVID-19 is a wakeup call and no product category has been spared, be it milk, cosmetics, clothes, footwear, seeds, fertilisers or pharma in terms of prohibition of counterfeiting.

Sustained awareness campaigns for people, necessary amendments in laws, increasing penalties and sentences, more product testing laboratories are some areas where the government, police and business community should work together, he added.

P.K. Malhotra, Former Union Law Secretary, and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE said: "Smuggling and counterfeiting harms the economy in multidimensional ways and the problem has been aggravated by globalization and increased mobility." He emphasised that effective coordination between central and state agencies, strengthening domestic manufacturing, addressing the demand and supply gap and leveraging technology are needed for a conducive environment free from illegal products.

"I must compliment the Madhya Pradesh government and the enforcement agencies for relentlessly pursuing the perpetrators of illicit trade. Despite the mammoth challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,their hands-on approach and alertness has been highlighted by seizures of large number of cigarettes, liquor, synthetic milk, fake currency and much more, said Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE.

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