New Delhi–The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) on Thursday urged the government to tackle smuggling and counterfeiting of goods as national threat, as they result in India losing around Rs 39,239 crore in taxes every year.

In a letter to various ministries concerned, including Finance Ministry, Ficci’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (Cascade) said the top five goods where seizures by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had been the highest in the past few years have been gold, cigarettes, machinery parts, fabric/silk yarn and electronic items.

The Ficci had earlier revealed facts about and impact of illicit trade in its report “Invisible Enemy – A Threat to Our National Interests”.

In the letter, the premier business chamber also shared the outcome of a recent interactive session held on “Illicit Trade and Its Impact on Consumers, Industry and Economy”, where it was felt that stringent action needs to be taken to counter and bring down illicit trade in the top smuggled sectors of the country.

“The existence and operation of illicit trade, counterfeiting and smuggling has been an enduring problem that has escalated in scope and magnitude, impacting industries, government, economies, and the health and safety of the consumers,” read the letter.

“India today has the potential to become a global manufacturing hub. However, widespread smuggling and counterfeiting, in the absence of an adequate enforcement mechanism to stop it, can act as a dampener in achieving this goal.

“It is time that we call for stern and resolute counter strike force against such ill-intentioned activities,” said Ficci Secretary General A. Didar Singh.

As per the Ficci Cascade report, owing to the illicit trade, various Indian industries are losing Rs 1,05,381 crore annually.

“Amongst the various sectors, the maximum revenue loss to the exchequer on account of counterfeiting and illicit trade is attributed to tobacco products, estimating a revenue loss of Rs 9,139 crore, followed by mobile phones at Rs 6,705 crore and alcoholic beverages at Rs 6,309 crore,” said the report. (IANS)