Mr Balesh Kumar, Member-Investigation, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, while congratulating FICCI CASCADE for taking the initiative to launch Anti-Smuggling Day, said, “Smuggling which is a huge threat to national security, requires all stakeholders including industry to come together to tackle it.” He was speaking at the Anti-Smuggling Day launch event, organized by FICCI CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy) where he also stated that the government has always been committed to combating the menace of smuggling and have institutionalized coordination between agencies, which has helped in generating volumes of information that are not only timely but also accurate leading to major seizures.
Quoting a recent seizure, Mr Kumar informed, “As recent as 6th Feb 2022, DRI in Imphal, Manipur effected a seizure of 12.5 kgs of gold coming across from Myanmar and over 46 lakh sticks of cigarettes worth Rs 9.5 crores in one single operation.”
Anti-Smuggling Day was launched with an objective of enhancing coordination and cooperation between law enforcement agencies, facilitating better exchange of information and experiences, and building a strong network to find innovative solutions to combat the menace of smuggling.
Highlighting the several initiatives undertaken by the World Customs Organisation to fight the menace of smuggling, Mr PK Das, Director, Compliance and Facilitation Directorate, World Customs Organisation said, “Smugglers and other criminals who are known to be agile and creative have also profited from the fruits of globalization and technological advances. They are misusing the opportunities presented by technology for their nefarious activities. The customs department has a major role to play in mitigating the challenges posed by illicit trade for the country and the economy.”
Speaking on the need for an Anti-Smuggling Day, Mr Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said, “Despite smuggling being a global menace, due focus and thrust has not been given to this mounting threat which is not only damaging our exchequer and leading to job losses but is also impacting the safety and security of nations worldwide. In this context, it is critical to emphasize and generate global awareness about the fact that the root cause of illicit trade lies in smuggling.”
“With FICCI CASCADE taking the lead in launching the Anti-Smuggling Day today, I am confident that in the years to come, it will not only raise greater awareness on the issue but will also get to the core of the problem which eventually will minimize the all-round dreadful impact of smuggling and related activities,” he added.
“Anti-Smuggling Day apart from spreading awareness on the ill-effects of smuggling will further enhance cooperation between all enforcement agencies who are tasked to thwart the menace of smuggling,” said Mr Najib Shah, Former Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE.
The webinar saw a host of notable speakers such as Mr Stefano Betti, Deputy Director-General, Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT), Mr Aniket Singh, DIG and Director (Anti-Smuggling and Narcotics Control), Indian Coast Guard, Mr Amerish Kumar Arya, DIG, Border Security Force and Dr DP Dash, Former Pr. Director-General, DRI, Former Chairman, Enforcement Committee, World Customs Organisation (WCO) and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE took part in the deliberations and extended their support to this initiative.
Speakers echoed on a meaningful, regular, and timely discussion as an essential element to protect the domestic interests of every nation and to defeat this worldwide threat.
As a run-up to Anti-Smuggling Day, and to sensitize the youth on the menace of smuggled goods, FICCI CASCADE also organized a Digital Art/Poster making competition on the theme, ‘Stand Against Smuggling’.
Jury Chair, Justice Manmohan Sarin, Former Lokayukta, NCT of Delhi, Chief Justice, High Court of Jammu & Kashmir, Judge, High Court of Delhi, while felicitating the winners of the competition said, “Such competitions encourage creative skills and ability in the youth simultaneously sensitizing them to the harmful effects of smuggling and imbibing a resolve to shun illicit products.” The competition witnessed an overwhelming response and saw a plethora of ideas, innovative expression, talent and content exhibited in posters.