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Suresh Prabhu inaugurates 3rd International Leadership Summit Authentication Forum in Delhi

Incident of counterfeit cases in India have increased by nearly 15 per cent in 2019. Currency, Liquor, FMCG (F&B) and pharma top the charts for counterfeit incidents reported, suggests a survey by ASPA

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Former Union Minster Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu recently inaugurated the third edition of The Authentication Forum in Delhi organised by Authentication Solutions Providers’ Association (ASPA) and Messe Frankfurt India.

ASPA is the world’s first and only self-regulated non-profit organisation that represents the entire physical and digital authentication solutions industry globally. The association has taken on the task of nurturing the anti-counterfeiting ecosystem by sensitising consumers, brands and policymakers towards the menace of counterfeiting and creating awareness around the solutions.

In his address, Prabhu, India’s Sherpa to G7 and G20, said,” I am happy to attend this forum and see the commitment of the industry towards fighting counterfeiting. This ‘authentic’ authentication forum is an assurance to the customer that his interest is protected and quality which is promised will be delivered. Customer is the king, and if s/he does not get the service or product of the promised quality, then we have a problem, and we must find the best possible solution for this problem. We need to protect the customer’s interest and assure him of delivering the quality that he is paying. Technology is the one solution to resove this problem. It can address the problem in a better way than before. We need to create a strong informed choice for customers and the government needs to play a crucial role in this — from creating standards, guidelines to implementation, enforcement and awareness. It is important to engage with customers, government and other stakeholders and this platform brings everyone on the same platform.”

Justice Manmohan Sarin, Former Lokayukta, NCT of Delhi, Chief Justice, High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Judge, High Court of Delhi gave his keynote address on the critical aspect Role of Judiciary in Combating Counterfeiting, said, “It is recognised that counterfeiting, smuggling and illicit trade have reached humongous levels in 2016. Trade in counterfeit and pirated products amounted to as much as $509 billion as per a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Counterfeiting results in loss of jobs curtail the growth of industries, the potential of creating havoc in healthcare systems by spurious drugs which can result in loss of human lives. Socio-Economic crimes like counterfeiting, infringement of trademark, copyright i.e. IP cases deserve to be dealt on priority and with the expedition. There is a need for judicial sensitivity and a proactive approach to prevent recurrence and the decisions to act as deterrents. Partly, this has been achieved by imposing punitive damages and costs which would pinch the offender. There is also a need for imparting training to all the stakeholders, prosecutors, enforcement agencies and members of the judiciary in this field which requires specialised knowledge. Judiciary is taking the centre stage in various issues of public interest and should play a pro-active role in this regard too. In many cases, we need to bring in judge-made law to fill in the vacuum to supply guidelines and/or adopt a judicial innovation approach to deal with the case. Apart from other initiatives, there is a need to create widespread awareness in consumers and industries and develop a mindset in which consumers also realise the harm which the use of counterfeit products can cause and begin to shun the same. This is, of course, the ultimate utopian goal. The Authentication Forum and its members can play a significant role in providing low-cost, easy-to-use technology as solutions for detecting counterfeit products from genuine ones.

Speaking at the forum, Nakul Pasricha, President, ASPA, said,” ASPA, as an industry association of anti-counterfeiting solutions providers, is trying its best to create awareness and support the government, industry and consumers in fighting counterfeiting and building up authentication ecosystems in the country. We believe the leadership summit will empower industry, Indians and India in the fight against counterfeiting, the crime of the 21st century. We are enthusiastic to see the positive response and support from the government and industry in the fight against fakes and are confident that this powerful stage for anti-counterfeiting will enable key decision makers at all levels to enhance their knowledge of anti-counterfeiting technologies and solutions to fight counterfeits.”

He added, “Representing 3.3 per cent of the world trade, counterfeiting is a critical risk for all companies, no matter where they are, and what product they made. Issue of counterfeiting and sub-standard products has been the cause of many major tragedies claiming many human lives, both worldwide and in India. Counterfeiting is a problem and industry captains and delegates, let’s work together in combating counterfeiting and leading India in achieving and becoming the $5 trillion knowledge-based economy.”

During the forum, ASPA released key findings of their report on counterfeiting in the country, which revealed that the incident of counterfeit cases in India have increased by nearly 15 per cent in 2019 for the period of January to October.

According to ASPA findings, the top 10 sectors with highest number of counterfeit cases for 2018 and 2019 are currency followed by liquor, FMCG (food and beverages), pharma, FMCG (personal care), documents, tobacco, automotive, construction material and chemical.

In terms of states, Uttar Pradesh is the most affected by counterfeit incident followed by Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Punjab and Gujarat.

The other findings are:

  • In terms of currency, approximately 25 per cent cases are reported from West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh
  • Sixty five per cent of liquor counterfeit cases are from UP and Jharkhand
  • Over 50 per cent of food adulteration cases are from UP, Rajasthan and Punjab
  • Over 50 per cent cases of pharma duplication are from UP and Bihar

Counterfeiting corrupts an economy in multiple ways by harming consumer rights, damaging brand equity, causing losses to industries and causing loss of government revenues. The menace of counterfeiting causes revenue loss of approximately Rs 1 trillion ($14.7 billion) annually to the Indian economy and curbing it could give a huge boost to economic resources of the country. Be it pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, liquor, automobile, electronic goods, almost every sector is witnessing the damage. Even currency is not untouched. Right from heavy tax losses to government to irreparable damage of brand images, counterfeiting is impacting our daily lives and the rising intensity of this menace is a big risk for the knowledge-based, open and globalised economy. Widespread and proper implementation of authentication technologies, enforcement, awareness, and monitoring can effectively curb counterfeiting.

Eminent personalities from renowned organisations from across industries such as FMCG, auto, pharmaceuticals, e-commerce, packaging, consumer durables, crop protection – agriculture, fertilisers, pesticides, etc spoke at the event.

Ramashankar Pandey, Chairman, Aftermarket Committee, ACMA  and Managing Director, Hella India; Supriya Verma, Associate Director, Forensic, PwC; Nityanand S Shenoy, Governing Body Member, ASPA, and President and Managing Director, PRS Permacel; Dr Ali Mehdi, Senior Fellow and Project Leader, Health Policy Initiative, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER); Dr Jayashree Gupta, President, Consumers India;  Yash Pal Sachar, General Manager Corporate Affairs, Honda Cars India; Arun Malhotra, Auto Industry Expert and Former Managing Director, Nissan India;  Amartyaa Kumaar Guha, Associate Director– Supply Chain, Flipkart; Amit Kale, Assistant Vice President, SME Packaging, Automation and Quality Control, Reliance Industries; Harendra Bana, Associate Director-Security, India Region, PepsiCo; Colonel Aroon Nayagam (Retd), National Head – Loss Prevention, Future Supply Chain Solutions; Deepak Mittal, DGM- Quality Assurance, Mother Dairy Fruits and Vegetables; Pankaj Kumar Patodi, Head Supply Chain, Godfrey Philips India; Vikas Ranjan, Brand Protection Manager– India and South East Asia, and Member – Global IPR, Adidas; Ashraf Ali, Anti-Counterfeit Manager India, Bayer CropScience; Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director, Insecticides India; Dr Sreejith Shankar, Ramanujan Fellow and AcSIR Assistant Professor (Chemical Sciences), CSIR – National Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences and Technology (CSIR – NIIST, Government of India); Abhishek Kishore Gupta, Partner, KPMG India; and Ulrike Kreysa, Vice President Healthcare, GS1 Global Office, among others, participated in various panel discussions.

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