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: 20th April 2020
As we navigate our way through the new norms and constraints of an extended lock down to counter the Covid-19 pandemic, Customs formations are living up to the challenge on the frontline by adopting innovative practices and procedures that incorporate social distancing. These measures also help us in keeping the Ports and the Courier terminals operational 24*7 and in facilitating quicker import clearances of Covid-19 related diagnostic/test kits, PPEs, Masks, Ventilators and other essential commodities.
The provision of electronic communication of PDF based final eOoC (electronic Out of Charge) copy of Bills of Entry and eGatepass to the importers/Customs Brokers, has been one such innovation. This procedure facilitates and expedites the Customs clearance process without human contact and also does away with the requirement of taking/carrying bulky printouts. Coming close after our innovation in making it possible for GST staff to access the GSTN System and work from home, it has helped us serve the taxpayer better. It has also come in for appreciation from trade and industry. In short, a win-win situation both for the trade and the department. The efforts of the Customs wing of the Board for conceiving and crafting this timely initiative and DG Systems for providing the required support mechanism need to be appreciated.
Our response to the Hon’ble Finance Minister’s call to expedite Refund and Drawback disbursement in order to provide greater liquidity to trade and industry, launched on 8th April, 2020, has seen 7873 GST refund claims worth Rs. 3854 crore, 78177 IGST refund claims worth Rs. 2619 crore and 133366 Drawback claims worth Rs. 602 crore being expeditiously processed till 16th April, 2020. We need to ensure that the entire amount due to the taxpayers are cleared expeditiously.
Last week, I had an opportunity to visit the DGGI office at New Delhi. It was heartening to be informed by the DG and his senior officers that while maintaining their anti-evasion vigil they are keeping safety measures for their staff in mind and that apart from personal sanitary measures, regular office sanitation is also being done.
As per numerous reports received during the week, we as a service have continued to provide humanitarian assistance to the needy during this critical juncture. Some of the notable ones are the commendable work of the Action Group of Bengaluru GST and Customs Zones who have provided 8000 meals and 600 dry rations to disadvantaged families and 350 PPEs to designated hospitals; Trichy Customs (Prev.) who have rendered assistance to fishermen families of Nagapattinam district by distributing essential food items; officers of CGST Commissionerate of Bhiwandi, Mumbai Zone, who in coordination with an NGO, Police Administration and local body distributed one-month ration to almost 450 needy families; 42 IRS Wbmen officers in Mumbai who contributed 212 PPEs worth Rs. 2.11 lakh to Sir J. J Group of Hospitals and KEM Hospital Mumbai to support the medical teams during the current emergency, etc. Hearty congratulations from the Board to each and every one of you involved in these efforts.
Our efforts to facilitate trade and businesses must continue in these difficult times. The Board has been taking note of the work done and the efforts made by the field formations through various means including the handholding done through Webinars and interactive sessions of the Zonal chiefs with the officers and the stakeholders through Video Conferencing. DGHRD is compiling a list of the yeoman service provided by our officers on all these fronts. All Zones need to send a write up with a few pictures to the Directorate for compilation and dissemination to enable field formations to learn from the best practices of others.
On the welfare side, as promised, the Board has approved a special package of Rs. 5 lakhs through the Welfare Fund for immediate assistance to the families of our service officers who succumb, God forbid, in their valiant fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. I must congratulate the DGHRD team led by Ms. Neeta Lal Butalia (DG) and Ms. Renu K. Jagdev (Pr. ADG) for processing the proposal and completing the sanction process in just two days. This would be of immediate help to the family of Late Shri Sanjay More, Havaldar. The Board has also approved ex-gratia financial assistance Rs. 2 lakh each from the Welfare Fund for the families of 15 departmental officers who died in harness of non-Covid related issues. Further, it is a matter of great satisfaction that, surpassing the initial estimates, officers and staff of the CBIC have voluntarily pledged to contribute Rs. 11.5 crore to the PM-CARES Fund.
As we gear up for a phased resumption of office work in the days ahead, I urge all of you to stay safe. Those attending office should adopt the standard protocols prescribed during their commute and at the workplace. By keeping yourself and your workplace safe, you are helping in containing the spread of this scourge.
(M. Ajit Kumar)
All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs