Counterfeiting incidents in India have increased at an alarming rate of around 20 per cent year-on-year growth in the last three years. According to a report titled – ‘The State of Counterfeiting in India 2021,’ the latest trends are alarming not only for the lives of citizens of the country but also the Indian economy. The report, released by the Authentication Solution Providers’ Association (ASPA), highlighted that these incidents increased by almost 17 per cent in 2020 as compared to 2019.
The report said that counterfeiting is a global phenomenon and almost all the economy in the world has been affected by the menace. According to an OECD, the figure stands at 3.3 per cent globally.
The report stated that criminals took advantage of the rise in the demand for hygiene products and health supplements created due to the coronavirus pandemic and contaminated the market by selling fake and sub-standard products. This put the lives of frontline workers, health professionals, patients, and the common man at risk.
As per the report, alcohol, tobacco, FMCG packaged goods, currency, and pharmaceuticals are the sectors affected the most by counterfeiting. “Out of total incidents of counterfeiting reported, more than 84 percent are of these five sectors. There was a sudden surge in crimes related to illicit liquor, smuggling of tobacco products and pharmaceutical products especially PPE kits and sanitizers during the COVID-19 lockdown,” the reports added.
The report also said that Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand are among the states that need urgent attention as far as incidents of counterfeiting are concerned. Other states in the list are Haryana, Bihar, Punjab, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Odisha.
While emphasising that counterfeiting is no more limited to only luxury or high-end items, the report said that criminals are now involved in counterfeiting common day-to-day items. However, tobacco has witnessed the highest jump in 2020. This is evident by a response in the Lok Sabha which states that the Indian authorities seized illegally imported cigarettes worth INR 1,772 crore between April 2020 and February 2021.
ASPA president Nakul Pasricha said that incidents of counterfeiting are being reported in large numbers because of the high demands during the coronavirus pandemic. Calling for immediate action, Pasricha said that a lot of awareness is required at all levels to curb the number of such incidents.