Millennium Post

'Create consumer awareness, reduce illicit market ops for conducive environment for growth'

New Delhi: "Create consumer awareness and substantially reduce the illicit market operations for a conducive environment for growth and development in the country", said P. Thilothaman, Hon'ble Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Government of Kerala at the Webinar held today on Combating Counterfeit and Smuggled and Pirated goods During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond, organized by FICCI's Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) focusing on the state of Kerala. The Minister further added, "Consumer awareness on fake and smuggled goods is low and hence many consumers are unaware that they are buying such goods and equally unaware of the consequences. Protecting and promoting the welfare of consumers has become one of the major concerns of our government and organizing awareness programs such as these help to educate and sensitize the consumers."

Complimenting the Kerala Government, Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said, "despite having multitude of challenges owing to

COVID-19, the enforcement agencies of Kerala have seized large number of illicit liquor, fake sanitizer products, gold, tobacco products and much more." Highlighting Prime Minister's Vocal for Local initiative, Rajput emphasised "I could not imagine a better time for the Hon'ble Prime Ministers clarion call of vocal for local-Aatmanirbhar Bharat, which to my mind could alleviate the pain and catapult India to even greater heights in the future."

In his opening remarks, Dr. M I Sahadulla, Co-Chair, FICCI Kerala State Council and MD, KIMS Healthcare Management Ltd. said, "Kerala being a consumer state, the opportunity is more for illicit traders. Hence, it is essential to create awareness and put an end to such nefarious activities."

Perspectives from Kerala Police was shared by S. Sreejith, IPS, IG, Crime, Kerala Police. Sumit Kumar, Commissioner of Custom, Preventive, Kerala Customs shared the custom department's vision in addressing this issue. Some of the key suggestions included:

1. Need for a wide scale programme to educate both industry and citizens about the dangers of smuggled and counterfeit goods.

2. Convergence of the stakeholders to address the menace of counterfeiting and smuggling.

3. Information based preventive action is a key tool to catch the perpetrators of illicit trade.

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