Incidents of cigarettes, tobacco smuggling jump 136% in 2 yrs: FICCI

Incidents of cigarettes and tobacco products smuggling in India increased by 136 per cent in 2016-17 from 2014-15, according to a report by FICCI CASCADE.

The number of incidents of smuggling of cigarettes and tobacco products increased to to 3,108 cases in 2016-17 from 1,312 cases in 2014-15, it added.

FICCI CASCADE, an industry body working on addressing the issue of illicit trade activities in India, also said that while there is an increase in vigilance by enforcement agencies, seizures were only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger and threatening operation in illegal trade in the country.

Maximum revenue loss to the exchequer came from illicit trade of tobacco products, mobile phones, alcoholic beverages, it said.

The report said the total loss to the government on account of illicit trade in just seven manufacturing sectors was Rs 392.39 billion in 2014.

The maximum revenue loss to the exchequer on account of counterfeiting and illicit trade is tobacco products at Rs 91.39 billion followed by mobile phones at Rs 67.05 billion and alcoholic beverages at Rs 63.09 billion, the report added.

"The market for contraband and smuggled goods is thriving in India and is today one of the biggest challenges faced by Indian industry," it said.