Citizens' Issues
'Counterfeiting of goods could mar 'Make in India' campaign'
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make in India campaign will succeed only if products manufactured in the country are reliable and authentic, a top official of a pan-India association of manufacturers of anti-counterfeiting solutions has said, adding that FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), especially packaged drinking water, were the most counterfeited in India.
 
Speaking to IANS after the annual general body meeting of the India-edition of Authentication Solution Providers Association (ASPA) in Goa, its president, U.K. Gupta, also said that authentication of goods using simple and cost-effective techniques such as holograms and tamper-proof seals would save the Indian economy several billion rupees annually.
 
"The Make in India campaign needs authentication of products to make it complete. A scenario where goods manufactured in India are counterfeited will only harm the campaign. There is a constant need to ensure that the Made in India label products are of highest quality, genuine and secured till delivered to the end consumer," Gupta said.
 
Quoting statistics from a report of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Gupta said that in the financial year 2013-14, counterfeiting caused a loss of Rs.21,957 crore ($3.3 billion) to the FMCG packaged goods industry, while in the same year, counterfeiting and duplication of products caused a loss of Rs.39,239 to the state exchequer in forms of tax and duty evasion.
 
According to Gupta, counterfeiting in industries like FMCG (packaged and personal goods), mobile phones, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, auto components and computer hardware caused a cumulative loss of Rs.105,381 crore in 2013-14 to the companies involved in their manufacture.
 
"The matter is so serious that if no immediate measures are taken, then the counterfeit market will, in the next five years, grow beyond imagination and will cause a very substantial loss to the Indian Government, industry and may impact the health of consumers, as well as in their belief in Made in India products," he said.
 
Nearly 70 manufacturers of authentication solution providers in India are members of the ASPA which is also affiliated with global associations such as the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA), Counterfeit Intelligence Bureau (CIB) and Interpol. ASPA members protect over 10,000 brands worldwide through the identification of genuine products and documents.
 
Gupta said that the most successful case study vis-a-vis countering counterfeiting is of usage of authentication solutions by various state excise departments.
 
"In India, more than 22 states are already using approximately 20,000 million security hologram (tax stamps) on liquor bottles per annum. The usage of authentication solutions in states like Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh has not only minimized the tragedies due to spurious liquor but also increased excise revenue collections by more than 15-20 percent on a year-on-year basis," he said.
 
"States like Bihar, Goa, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Rajasthan were not using any authentication solutions till date. It will help these states in curbing the inter-state smuggling of liquor which happens due to difference in excise duty rates," he said.

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Cabinet approves Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rural Mission
In an ambitious bid to transform rural areas to economically, socially and physically sustainable spaces, the union cabinet on Wednesday approved the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rural Mission (SPMRM) with an outlay of Rs.5,142.08 crore.
 
"The union cabinet gave its nod to SPMRM to drive economic, social and infrastructure development in rural areas," Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here at a press conference after a meeting of the union cabinet.
 
"The state governments would identify the clusters in accordance with the framework for implementation prepared by the ministry of rural development," the minister added.
 
He further said that these clusters would be developed by provisioning of economic activities, developing skills and local entrepreneurship and providing infrastructure amenities.

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Cabinet clears 50 extra days' work under MGNREGA
The central government on Wednesday approved an extra 50 days of work for farmers/workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) scheme.
 
The union Cabinet, at a meeting here, decided that farmers hit by the deficient monsoon this kharif season would now get to work for a total of 150 days under MNREGA.
 
The rural employment guarantee scheme earlier provided for 100 days of unskilled manual work for registered farmers.
 
MNREGA, which came into effect on September 7, 2005, provides employment within 15 days of application, failing which the government provides daily unemployment allowance.

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