Smuggling of gold, cigarettes, liquor surges amid COVID

New Delhi: Gold, cigarettes & liquor have been amongst high tax items that topped the list of smuggled goods across India(In) amidst the current COVID-19 crises that has resulted in economic distress.

Smuggling of these goods not only lodged a sharp spike amidst the epidemic however also smugglers, curiously, utilized innovative steps like ferrying illegal cigarettes in COVID-19 special trains.

Disclosing the truth on the basis of a research of seizure of such smuggled items, FICCI’s Committee Over Smuggling & Counterfeiting Operations Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) stated Customs authorities had 2 substantial seizures of smuggled cigarettes in the New Delhi(DL) railway station where the smugglers have been utilizing COVID-19 special trains for ferrying these products in under a week.

These seizures come on the back of 2 different substantial busts of foreign cigarette smuggling rackets, the 1st in Mumbai (Bombay) & the 2nd 1 in Hyderabad(Hyd), stated the research, adding the combined worth of the seizures is over INR 15 cr.

Previously this mo, the research stated, seizures of smuggled gold value INR 1.five cr & INR 15 cr have been also made by this Kerala(KL) Air port Authority & customs in Thiruvananthapuram Air port respectively.

Not only does the smuggling dent the govt exchequer by making opportunities from tax arbitrage, however also warns regional industries on that livelihoods of numerous depend, the research stated.

The research estimates that over 16 lakh jobs have been lost in India(In) in 5 sector areas alone in 2017-18 because of smuggling. “Apart from unemployment & massive fiscal losses, and also creates huge scale destabilisation by fomenting offence & funding insurgency & terrorism.”

To create large-scale awareness of this menace, FICCI CASCADE was implementing multiple interactions with govt & enforcement agencies across multiple states in India(In) on the ways & means to mitigate this challenge.

The organisation has also requested to the policymakers that illicit trade must be handled as a domestic danger.

Applauding enforcement agencies for previous seizures, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Sector (FICCI), an association of business organisations in India(In) well-established in 1927, has pushed the govt to keep up the vigilance on smuggling of goods.

“Illicit trade has appeared as one such most formidable problems before our country, specially during this current epidemic that has resulted in economic distress.

This comes within the wake of multiple instances of smuggling of goods like gold, cigarettes, liquor, that were recorded amidst the COVID-19 epidemic,” the organisation stated.

Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE awhile congratulating the officials of the enforcement agencies for successful seizures, stated: “The perpetrators of illicit trade are always looking in innovative ways to cheat the system into carrying out their own operations.

“This deeply harms the economic interests of the country, & community ends up paying a massive cost. Awhile the previous measures of enforcement officials are laudable, we can’t afford to let the guard down.

In a time when the nation is already handling the coronavirus-triggered fiscal pressure, it’s even extra important than the govt retains a stringent vigil to make sure that these offenders are kept in bay.”