India sees ‘alarming’ 24 per cent rise in counterfeit incidents

Counterfeit incidents in India rose by 24 per cent in 2019 compared to the previous year, according to a debut report from the Authentication Solution Providers’ Association (ASPA).

The ASPA – which represents suppliers of anti-counterfeit and traceability technologies – estimates that counterfeiting costs the Indian economy more than 1 trillion rupees ($13bn) every year.

The State of Counterfeiting in India – 2020 report found that the top 10 sectors affected by counterfeiting were currency, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), alcohol, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, infrastructure, automotive, tobacco, and lifestyle/apparel.

FMCG saw the greatest increase last year over 2018, with 129 recorded incidents versus 79 in the previous year, which is a 63 per cent increase.

The report also found that the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Punjab, Jharkhand, Delhi, Gujarat, and Uttarakhand had the most counterfeiting incidents and “need urgent attention to frame anti-counterfeiting policy mechanisms,” according to the ASPA.

Taken together, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Rajasthan accounted for almost 45 per cent of the total counterfeit incidents reported in India in the last two years, it adds.

“Counterfeiting activities are not limited to high-end luxury items,” says ASPA. “Common day to day items including cumin seeds, mustard cooking oil, ghee, hair oil, soaps, baby care vaccines and medicine are increasingly reported counterfeited by criminals.”

The report also found that in common with other areas of the world, India saw a spike in counterfeit cases involving products used to combat COVID-19 – such as hand sanitizers, masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) kits – during the outbreak. There were more than 150 such incidents reported between February and April 2020.

“The trends call for immediate action,” comments Nakul Pasricha, ASPA’s president. “There is a need for an ongoing focus on building and nurturing authentication eco-systems in the country and as an industry association, we are committed to that.”

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