India is lagging behind in leveraging intellectual property rights (IPRs), Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) Chairman Najib Shah today said and urged businesses to register their patent rights to fight against the menace of counterfeits and piracy.
He also stressed on cooperation among key stakeholders for better enforcement of IPRs.
"India has been a little behind, perhaps,in leveraging in IPR and it has become an impediment," Shah said addressing an event on 'Illicit cross-border trade in goods: impact on economy and consumers' organised by industry body Ficci.
IPRs help to fight counterfeit and pirated trade, which has affected the entire economy and consumer welfare and safety, he said.
Emphasizing the need to create awareness about IPR, CBEC chief said, "We have repeatedly pointed out about the lack of enthusiasm in registering of IPRs by businesses. They need to take proactive steps. We have been encouraging. Unfortunately, the interest is very sporadic."
In this backdrop, cooperation among key stakeholders is required for better enforcement of IPRs. That apart, there has to be a close cooperation among enforcement agencies within the country and internationally, he said.
"Growth of illicit trade through e-commerce is a new challenge, which also needs urgent attention. Unchecked, it will continue to multiply," he added.
Shah also said that the government has come out with user-friendly online platform for registration of IPRs. So far, 900 registrations have been done.
Noting that counterfeit or smuggling is impacting 'Brand India' globally, Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande said, "However enforcement is a key challenge. There is lack of sufficient resources. It is low on priority by enforcement agencies..."
Addressing these issues cannot be done in isolation. It is a joint responsibility of consumers, enforcement agencies, the industry and the government, he added.
On the occasion, the report on 'Invisible Enemy, a threat to national interests' prepared by Ficci Cascade was released.
According to the report, the seizures by Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) remained highest in five goods -- gold, cigarettes, machinery parts, fabric/silk yarn, and electronic items in last two years.
Ficci Cascade Chairman Anil Rajput said that illicit trade remains a formidable adversary for the nation.
"The root cause of this is sometimes a policy framework that incentivises unscrupulous elements to take advantage and make inroads in the system. This encourages anti-social elements to dictate terms to the supply chain and create havoc for the public at large," he said.
To curb illicit trade, the Ficci report recommended rationalisation of tariffs, better coordination among smuggling enforcement agencies, electronic tracking system and strengthening of risk management capabilities of customs department.
It also suggested stringent punishment, leveraging technology and boosting innovation as also capacity building of human resources at customs.