Smuggling: The creepy enemy of a self-reliant economy

A 2019 study by the FICCI stated that large-scale smuggling in five key industry sectors alone resulted in a loss of Rs 1,17,253 crore to the Indian economy

By Rameesh Kailasam

The literal meaning of smuggling is to bring in or take out, secretly, anything that is contrary to the law or even bypassing payment of taxes, duties or violating laws laid down by the Customs.

While the origins of smuggling may not be clear, it should ideally be as old as the time someone may have attempted to flout or bypass any tax or regulation to sneak in or out any goods. Some history exists around smuggling during the late 13th century during the reign of Edward I of England, when wool was brought under a consistently increasing customs duty due to huge demand in Europe. The 18th century was a golden period for smuggling as taxes increased significantly on tea, spices, silk, tobacco and spirits in England and France, and led to widespread illicit trade. The…

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