Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs
North Block, New Delhi-110 001
Tel. No. : +91-11-23092849, Fax No. : +91-11-23092890
E-mail : [email protected]
Date: 11th May 2020
`Reform or perish’, may not be an appropriate slogan now for a department that went very early into procedural reforms including automation to a very high level. But 25 years of digital transformation later, it is not our case that the reform process on the Customs side is complete. This year is perhaps just the right time to take stock and rededicate our commitment to change. The litmus test would be to ensure that trade processes are digitized in a manner that no stakeholder would have to visit the Custom House for his routine work. Let us today on National Technology Day endeavor to leverage technology so as to make a positive change in making international trade processes physically contactless as far as Customs is concerned.
From paper-less customs to people-less customs is an idea whose time has come and which we should commit to deliver by the year end. Member (Customs) has, vide his D.O. letter dated 8.5.2020, sought inputs of the department’s physical touch points with the trade. Zonal Chief Commissioners may take time out to give it a thought so that a comprehensive plan could be worked out to ensure that stake- holders do not have to travel to Custom Houses for clearance of goods in the normal course. This would immensely help in implementing social distancing norms and a healthy workspace, while giving a huge boost to EODB.
The Video Conference with heads of Zones and Directorates last week was a fruitful one. It gave the Board a sense of the work being done by the departmental formations in these challenging times, the welfare measures taken for the staff and the general state of health of staff across the department.
Dealing with the new challenges thrown up by a pandemic which has impacted life both at home and at the workplace calls for effective leadership right from the very front by senior officers. Motivating and guiding officers and staff needs a hands-on approach and their physical presence on the spot. Absentee leadership cannot be the new normal. It has also to be ensured that the technological facility to work from home does not lead to officers and staff leaving station to work from their hometowns. No laxity can be tolerated and any deviation would have to be dealt with as per extant rules.
It is indeed a proud moment for Indian Customs to be a part of the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s ‘Vande Bharat Mission’. One of the world’s largest evacuation operations is underway with 64 flights pressed into services in the first phase of operation to bring in our stranded citizens from across the globe. I am also happy to note that the first repatriation Air India Express flight from Abu Dhabi with 181 passengers was cleared smoothly from Kochi airport. My appreciation to Chief Commissioner Trivandrum and his team of officers. While the evacuation process gets under way in other international airports and through some seaports, zonal chiefs and their teams of officers should ensure that precautions are taken, close coordination is maintained with health authorities and the standard protocols of social distancing, use of PPEs and proper sanitation are followed in the customs zone.
DGHRD’s efforts in launching ‘SPARROW Seva’ w.e.f 1st May, 2020 needs to be appreciated. It is an online utility for both SPARROW -CBIC & SPARROW – IRS for updation of officer and custodian details and also for addressing all system related technical problems. This will facilitate both users and DGHRD team to seamlessly resolve all issues. Writing of APARs for the current year will commence shortly and hence it is also closing time for the pending APARs of the previous year. Officers who have not executed their assigned duties in the APAR cycle diligently on time would need to explain the reasons for the default and mention this appropriately in the next year’s APAR.
with best wishes
(M. Ajit kumar)
All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs