India continues to be a target for tobacco smugglers in spite of several restrictions with an almost eightfold increase in the illegal activity, according to industry chamber FICCI's Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE).
Enforcement agencies in India seized illicit cigarettes worth around Rs 412 crore in the last five months across India, which is a quantum jump compared to Rs 52 crore in June-October period of 2019, FICCI CASCADE said in a statement.
"This comes in the wake of several cases being intercepted during the COVID-19 pandemic," it added.
Commenting on the development, FICCI CASCADE Chairman Anil Rajput said: "There has been an almost eightfold increase over the year, indicating that India continues to be a target for tobacco smugglers in spite of several restrictions. It is clear that criminal enterprises are continuing to seek ways of ensuring infiltration of smuggled goods into the country."
While lauding the recent efforts of enforcement officers, he said: "We cannot afford to let the guard go down and must maintain strict vigil to ensure that these offenders are kept at bay."
FICCI CASCADE said in spite of several measures which are being undertaken by the government, to tackle this problem, further steps are required, both in the form of policy intervention and awareness generation.
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