'Smug­gling, coun­ter­feit­ing & piracy are eco­nomic can­cers’

FICCI Business Digest - - Special Features -

FICCI CAS­CADE (Com­mit­tee Against Smug­gling and Coun­ter­feit­ing Ac­tiv­i­ties De­stroy­ing the Econ­omy) in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Odisha State Ju­di­cial Academy or­gan­ised a Ju­di­ciary Sen­si­ti­za­tion Pro­gramme on Smug­gling, Coun­ter­feit­ing and Piracy on April 11, 2015 at the Odisha Ju­di­cial Academy, lo­cated at Cut­tack. The ob­jec­tive was to fo­cus on is­sues and chal­lenges which the ju­di­ciary is ex­pected to ad­dress in re­solv­ing IP dis­putes in view of the chang­ing sce­nario of tech­nol­ogy and trade poli­cies, and evolv­ing of the law on the sub­ject.

The chief guest Jus­tice I. Ma­hanty, Chair­man, Odisha State Ju­di­cial Academy, stated that the ju­di­ciary was at the van­guard in tak­ing ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions against all forms of cor­rup­tion where coun­ter­feit­ing, smug­gling and piracy were its worst form. Th­ese il­licit ac­tiv­i­ties hit the eco­nomic in­de­pen­dence of the na­tion and were like an eco­nomic can­cer im­pact­ing all strata of so­ci­ety. Hence, it be­comes im­per­a­tive for the ju­di­ciary to deal with it ap­pro­pri­ately. Ac­tions of the ju­di­ciary and strict­ness of the ac­tions was the key. Jus­tice Ma­hanty ob­served that such ini­tia­tives would en­able the ju­di­ciary to bet­ter un­der­stand the sever­ity of the grow­ing prob­lem of eco­nomic of­fences and the need to ad­dress it firmly.

P. C. Jha, Ex-Chair­man, Cen­tral Board of Ex­cise and Cus­toms and Ad­viser, FICCI CAS­CADE, in­formed that a re­cently re­leased study by FICCI CAS­CADE ti­tled 'Il­licit Mar­kets - A Threat to Our Na­tional In­ter­est' had es­ti­mated that due to il­licit trade, loss to manufacturing re­lated sec­tors had in­creased by 44.4 per cent in just two years, from Rs. 72,969 crore in 2011-12 to Rs. 105,381 crore in 2013-14. The to­tal loss to the gov­ern­ment for manufacturing in­dus­tries, es­ti­mated for 2014, on ac­count of the il­licit mar­kets, was Rs. 39,239 crore. Jha added that the pe­nal pro­vi­sions in the law and de­lay in in­flict­ing penal­ties, which were largely in­ad­e­quate, were not be­ing able to cre­ate the de­sired de­ter­rence. He em­pha­sised that this se­ri­ous prob­lem could be dealt with only if there was sin­cere com­mit­ment at con­sumers, gov­ern­ment and me­dia lev­els. Fur­ther, this com­mit­ment must lead to tak­ing re­sult-ori­ented ef­fec­tive en­force­ment steps, in a sus­tained man­ner, over a long pe­riod of time.

Arun Chawla, As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, FICCI, stated that the costs of coun­ter­feit­ing, piracy and smug­gling were not only real, but also huge. With the in­crease in global trade and tech­no­log­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion, there has been an in­crease in eco­nomic crimes. Of­fences re­lat­ing to piracy, smug­gling and coun­ter­feit­ing have in­creased man­i­fold in global mar­ket as a re­sult of which the gov­ern­ment, busi­nesses, so­ci­ety and con­sumers are los­ing mil­lions of ru­pees. Pro­tec­tion of le­git­i­mate right hold­ers is not only a vi­tal el­e­ment in en­cour­ag­ing re­search and in­no­va­tion, in­ter­na­tional trade and in­vest­ment, but also sound eco­nomic growth and de­vel­op­ment. Chawla also high­lighted the ini­tia­tives of FICCI CAS­CADE in fight­ing the per­ils of smug­gling and coun­ter­feit­ing.

The in­au­gu­ral ses­sion was fol­lowed by tech­ni­cal ses­sions. Em­i­nent speak­ers from lead­ing in­dus­tries, academia and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions de­lib­er­ated on var­i­ous as­pects re­lated to il­licit trade such as coun­ter­feit­ing and smug­gling. The pro­gramme was at­tended by over 70 trainee judges and a num­ber of sit­ting high court judges.

Arun Chawla, As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, FICCI wel­com­ing Jus­tice I. Ma­hanty, Chair­man, Odisha State Ju­di­cial Academy. P. C. Jha, Ex-Chair­man, Cen­tral Board of Ex­cise and Cus­toms, Ad­viser, FICCI CAS­CADE, looks on.

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