Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday stressed on the need for all governments to prevent smuggling and activities harming wild flora and fauna.
"It is important for all governments to know how to deter smuggling and activities which are endangering our wild fauna and flora. Deterrence is what is going to help, and in which we are at an advantage as enforcement agencies because of the advantage of technology," she said while addressing the Global Conference on Cooperation in Enforcement Matters organised by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.
"The most important silo which I want to talk about is prevention and deterrence...Prevention of illegal trade, smuggling, and prevention of those that are not at all desirable to any country's sovereign authority... Deterrence is also strengthened by the fact that you are alert, and you show dedication and commitment to completely destroy what you have caught and not again put it in the market. So prevention and deterrence is that particular area in which this global conference should give a lot of workable ideas," she added.
Sitharaman said that customs authorities should share information among themselves to curb the network of illicit trade and efforts should be made to ensure that information shared is "actionable".
She also said that the nature of smuggled or illegally traded goods has not changed over the last 50-60 years and it continues to be precious metals, narcotics, precious reserves from forest or marine life.
"So largely the goods which are illegally traded remain the same. There are no newer areas on which the customs authorities are baffled. If this is the way it is showing a trend over the decade, by now most of us should be fairly informed of who are the forces behind it. I place a lot of emphasis on intergovernmental cooperation, along with WCO (World Customs Organisation), so that we are able to crack the brains behind it (smuggling), the masterminds behind it, with the help from local authorities and governments," the minister said.