M. Ajit Kumar
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: 25th January 2021
The ensuing week will witness the global customs community celebrating International Customs Day on the 26th of January with the slogan ‘Customs bolstering Recovery, Renewal and Resilience for a sustainable supply chain”. To mark the occasion, 17 of our officers have been awarded with WCO certificates of merit for their committed work in the department. My congratulations to all of them. It would also be appropriate on this joyous occasion, to look back at some significant work done on the Customs side.
To begin with, it is heartening to note that our officers have exhibited commendable coordination and efficiency in facilitating the export of Covid vaccines to neighbouring and other friendly countries. These are extremely time and temperature-sensitive critical shipments. Coordination both with the field formations and at inter-ministerial level is being done by the Customs wing in the Board to ensure that there are no glitches in the supply chain.
Last week, I had written about a new procedure for monitoring and implementing the RoDTEP scheme on the ICES platform. This week we turn to the changes that have been made by CBIC for implementing the Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) licenses issued by DGFT, To make the process digital and secure, a mechanism to receive the TRQ licenses electronically from DGFT has been implemented and enabled by DG Systems. The IEC and quantity based TRQ licenses are transmitted by DGFT electronically to ICEGATE. The import quantity in the Bill of Entry would automatically be debited from the TRQ license thereby ensuring a System driven electronic license debit ledger that can be viewed by Customs officers. The above system, put in place again in record time, is in line with the Government’s objective of a paperless, seamless and secure mode of business transaction. Electronic implementation of TRQ again on the ICES platform will not allow unscrupulous elements to game the system. Congratulations to the Systems Directorate team.
As a measure of export promotion, and to overcome logistical bottlenecks, introduction of Transportation of Goods (Through Foreign Territory) Regulations, 2020 to facilitate movement of goods from one part of India to another through a foreign territory is a game changer. Execution of a bank guarantee for eligible carriers of such transportation has also been done away with as per a circular issued in this regard.
On the international stage, India, represented by CBIC, had successfully completed its stint of two years as WCO Vice Chair for Asia Pacific Region and handed over the charge to Indonesia in June, 2020. India has also been selected as a member of the WCO Policy Commission during the 137th Council Session held in December, 2020. WCO is also set to sign an MoU with CBIC for CRCL being accepted as Regional Customs Laboratory of WCO (RCL) during the coming week. Automated exchange of trade information between Customs administrations that is essential to curb trade mis-invoicing, is our next area of focus.
It had been a remarkable week on the anti-smuggling front. In a well-coordinated action, DRI zonal units of Delhi and Lucknow made a spectacular seizure of a total of 55.61 Kg of foreign-origin gold valued at Rs.28 Crore smuggled in through the Myanmar-India border. The Hon’ble Minister of State for Finance, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur made a personal visit to the Delhi DRI Zonal unit and appreciated the work of the officers. We are grateful to him for his visit and for motivating the officers.
Yet another case made at the edge of the golden triangle, and is a testimony to the coordination between the Customs Preventive force, Champhai and 8 Assam Rifles. Their team, during surveillance in the wee hours, noticed two suspects approaching River Tiau from Myanmar side with a bag. 3 AK-56 rifles, 2,30,000 Myanmarese Kyat and a Myanmarese SIM card were recovered from the bag of the fleeing suspects at Zote Village, Champhai, Mizoram. Such action from our officers in the North East underscores our sincere commitment to border protection.
Two Ugandan nationals coming from Entebebe were intercepted by Air Customs officers at IGI Airport last night. During search of their checked in bags, a total 51 pouches containing 9.8 Kg (approx) of white powdery substance, suspected to be the narcotic drug heroin, valued at Rs 68 Crore (approx) was recovered. Both have been arrested. This is one of the largest seizures of heroin at an Indian airport. Congratulations to the alert team of officers.
The DGGI led anti-evasion efforts, along with the zones, against persons dealing in fake GST invoices have also been very pin pointed and effective. It has, as on 23.01.2021, resulted in 2,562 cases being booked against 7,965 fake entities since mid-November. The CBIC’ s drive has led to the arrest of 258 people.. Out of the arrested, two persons have been detained under COFEPOSA (Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act). All the officers involved in the drive deserve our appreciation for their sustained and relentless efforts.
The week saw the traditional pre-budget Halwa ceremony being held, presided over by the Hon’ble Union Finance Minister. While it was an opportunity for enjoying the sweet meat, it also reminds one of the close proximity to Budget Day and the more than a month long toil of our TRU officers. The day will also see the flash GST revenue collection for the month of January being announced. Our focus should strongly be on efforts to encourage the taxpayer to pay his dues on time and thereby exceed the record revenue collection achieved last month.
For those officers and staff retiring this month, thank you for your active contribution to the department. May you have a happy and peaceful retired life. With the Republic Day coming up, I convey my greetings to one and all on behalf of the Board and on my personal behalf. Wish you good health and cheer
with best wishes
(M. Ajit Kumar)
All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs