What do you think is the greatest threat in a world driven by consumerism? Counterfeiting! They pose a significant threat to both individuals and the economy. The Indian economy is one of the biggest in the world, with its immense potential and diverse range of products and has become a hotbed for counterfeit goods. However, the government of India, recognizing the importance of protecting consumers, has established various regulatory agencies to combat this menace. And for a normal customer identifying such agencies and understanding their functioning may be a little confusing. That’s why we have arrived today to give you which government agencies can protect you from the counterfeit threat.
1. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT)
The DPIIT is one of the major government agencies which has taken the role of protecting consumers from counterfeits. It is responsible for administering and enforcing the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) laws in India. The department takes proactive measures to promote a robust IPR ecosystem and effectively tackle counterfeit goods. Through its initiatives, such as the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Scheme for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the DPIIT encourages small businesses to protect their innovations and trademarks, thereby fostering a culture of authenticity and discouraging counterfeit practices.
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO):
The World Intellectual Property Organization is a global organisation that plays a vital role in fostering innovation, creativity and economic growth by promoting effective intellectual property protection. WIPO is one of the specialised agency branches of the UN, cooperating with countries and organisations across the world to protect intellectual property rights. India became part of the WIPO in 1975 and is currently party to six treaties.
WIPO administers various international treaties and provides a platform for member states to cooperate and develop strategies to combat counterfeiting. Through initiatives like the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, WIPO supports efforts to strengthen legal frameworks, enhance enforcement measures and raise public awareness about the consequences of counterfeiting.
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2. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC)
Under the Ministry of Finance, the CBIC is responsible for regulating customs and excise duties, including the prevention of smuggling and illegal importation of goods. The CBIC's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has been instrumental in combating the influx of counterfeit products, particularly in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, electronics and luxury goods. The DRI seized counterfeit mobile phones worth over INR 300 crore ($41 million) in 2020, highlighting the scale of the problem. By implementing strict surveillance and enforcement measures at ports and borders, the CBIC plays a vital role in curbing the entry of counterfeit goods into India.
3. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
Counterfeit food products pose a significant risk to public health and safety. The FSSAI, India's apex food regulator, ensures that food products meet the necessary quality standards and are free from adulteration and counterfeit ingredients. The FSSAI implements stringent regulations, regularly conducts food safety inspections and revoked the licenses of several establishments involved in the production and sale of counterfeit food products. By providing consumers with safe and authentic food options, the FSSAI not only safeguards their health but also promotes trust in the food industry.
4. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI)
The DCGI is responsible for regulating and supervising the pharmaceutical industry in India. Counterfeit medicines pose a grave threat to public health, as they often contain substandard or harmful ingredients. The DCGI has taken several measures to combat this issue, including strengthening the regulatory framework, conducting regular inspections of drug manufacturing facilities and implementing strict penalties for counterfeit drug producers. By ensuring the availability of safe and genuine medicines, the DCGI protects consumers from the dangers of counterfeit pharmaceuticals.
5. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution plays a pivotal role in safeguarding consumers' rights and interests. It oversees the implementation of the Consumer Protection Act, which provides a legal framework for consumers to seek redressal against counterfeit products and unfair trade practices. The ministry operates the National Consumer Helpline, a toll-free helpline that enables consumers to report cases of counterfeiting and seek guidance on their rights. By empowering consumers with information and assistance, the ministry ensures their protection from counterfeit goods.
6. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is the national standards body responsible for ensuring the quality, safety and reliability of products in India. BIS sets standards for various consumer products, including electronics, appliances and textiles to prevent the circulation of counterfeit and substandard goods in the market. The agency conducts regular product testing and certification, enabling consumers to make informed choices and protecting them from counterfeit products. As per BIS data, in 2021, the agency conducted over 22,000 product tests, and approximately 3,500 licenses were cancelled due to non-compliance with standards.
7. The Intellectual Property India
Intellectual Property India is responsible for the registration and protection of intellectual property rights in India. IPIndia grants patents, trademarks and copyrights, which serve as legal tools for rights holders to protect their creations from counterfeiting. The office also plays a vital role in enforcing intellectual property laws, investigating infringement cases and taking legal action against counterfeiters. By protecting the rights of creators and innovators, IPIndia contributes to fostering a culture of innovation and discouraging counterfeit activities.
Anti-counterfeiting is not just the responsibility of the government but the duty of every single citizen and brand out there. And it is necessary that we stand united in the battle against the dark world of counterfeiting. Apart from government agencies, there are anti-counterfeit agencies that leverage new-age technologies to counter the fake market. By employing AI, machine learning and other cutting-edge systems, anti-counterfeit companies are making a strong contribution to the fight against counterfeits.
And Acviss has been at the forefront of the battle for creating a fake-proof world. By employing Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, Blockchain and computer vision, Acviss has been able to cater to a wide range of brands across industries. Be it farmers, carpenters, electronic manufacturer or apparel brands, Acviss’ solutions has helped them to keep their products away from counterfeiters and build strong, loyal and long-term relationship with their customers.