Why in News:
- FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) launched the first ever Anti-Smuggling Day to raise its voice against the menace of smuggling across the globe.
Why is smuggling a menace?
- The 2021 Global Illicit Economy report states that illegal markets have boomed, diversified, and become more networked over the last 20 years.
- The 18th century was known as the golden age of smuggling, when England witnessed illicit trade of tea, tobacco, spices, silks, and spirits. Smuggling continued throughout the early 19th century but declined after the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, when the preventive effort was stepped up with the introduction of coastal blockades and coastguard.
- Several reports have indicated that in recent times, a plethora of illicit activities are performed systematically by criminal enterprises which include drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal wildlife trade and illegal arms trafficking. As an alternative to paper currency, gold and cigarettes are the most favoured for money laundering and illicit trade. They are high-value, easy-to-transport, making them vulnerable to smuggling.
- According to Global Financial Integrity, illicit flows resulting from transnational crime such as arms, tobacco, or pharmaceuticals smuggling are valued at an average of $1.6 trillion-$2.2 trillion annually.
- WHO estimates that regarding alcohol smuggling, the annual worth amounts to $19.4 billion. In 2019, UNODC estimated the annual value of the trade in narcotics to be between $400-$600 billion worldwide.
- In India, a 2019 FICCI CASCADE report stated that the top five sectors where smuggling was rampant were textiles, tobacco products, readymade garments, capital goods, and consumer electronics, which were damaging the economy to the tune of 1.17 trillion.
- Since smugglers evade legal duties and taxes, they also put an extra burden on the budget, leading citizens being deprived of much-needed resources.
- Inter-agency and inter-country cooperation,generating consumer awareness is needed. This will eventually prevent victimisation of the people who are exposed to health and safety dangers posed by illicit products.
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)
- The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is the premier intelligence and enforcement agency of the Government of India on anti-smuggling matters.
- It is under the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs, Ministry of Finance