Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs
North Block, New Delhi-110 001
Tel. No. +91-11-2309289, Fax No. : +91-11-23092890
E-mail : [email protected]
Dated: 1st February, 2021
It has indeed been a magnificent response from all officers and staff of CBIC. On the eve of the Union Budget, when all eyes are on the Ministry of Finance, our field formations, both on the GST and Customs sides, have striven hard and are part of a record-setting revenue collection of about Rs. 1.20 lakh crore for the month of January, 2021. They have been helped in this effort by their counterparts in the states. That this has come for the second successive month, just after a new record was set in December, 2020, makes it even more credit worthy. The work done by our zonal enforcement teams spearheaded by the DGGI with their data-driven action has helped a great deal in this achievement. This has also provided a level playing field to the honest tax payer. Congratulations to all officers and staff for their strenuous efforts for reaching the monthly target set by the Board.
The International Customs Day celebration last week was marked by warm greetings from the Hon’ble Union Finance Minister and the Minister of State for Finance The Board celebrated the event with the zones through a Video Conference. Congratulations to all the officers who were awarded the WCO Certificate of Merit on the occasion. The WCO theme this year was “Customs bolstering recovery, renewal and resilience”. This puts the focus on the steps taken by Customs to help the trade and society during the pandemic. The Board expressed happiness at the large number of steps taken to help the trade during the peak of the pandemic and the morale boosting manner in which the officers and staff stood by one another and their families through the crisis.
On 25th January, 2021, the new Microbiology Laboratory at CRCL, New Delhi was inaugurated by me in the presence of Member (Customs), Member (Admn.) and other senior officers of the department. The lab has been set up to meet the requirement for testing of imported food items. It now puts our lab alongside private food testing labs and will definitely enhance our service to the EXIM trade. I compliment the officers and staff of Revenue Laboratories for their efforts and wish them well in their new venture.
A lot of work has been done down the years by Customs in the North East. Initiatives have been taken to improve cargo movement from the mainland to the North Eastern states and vice versa. By issuing the Transportation of Goods (Through Foreign Territory) Regulations, 2020, it has become possible to effectively utilize both the riverine and road connectivity of Bangladesh. Such shorter routes for movement of cargo will improve logistics and benefit the trade and people of the region.
CBIC has recently notified the rail route connecting Jayanagar in India and Kurtha in Nepal under Jayanagar LCS in anticipation of the operationalization of rail movement. Similarly, by notifying an additional route through Ahlay to enter Bhutan, apart from the main trade route of Phuensholing, uninterrupted supply of goods could be maintained even during the pandemic. All this will enhance the people-to-people contact by cementing traditional ties between the countries in the region, as well as in promoting tourism and societal and economic exchange.
For encouraging the use of an affordable and clean mode of transport, the Board has notified three locations along India’s waterways viz. Jogigopha and Badarpur in Assam and Kolaghat in West Bengal. These inland waterway routes aim to foster the development of multimodal transport and provide an alternate and environment-friendly mode for movement of goods especially to and from the North east.
On the Audit front, with increasing trade facilitation, Post Clearance Audit is an essential tool deployed by the department to measure and improve our stakeholder’s compliance levels. In line with India’s category ‘A’ commitment to Article 7.5 of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that deals with post clearance audit, four audit Commissionerates for Customs were created to strengthen the audit control mechanism in the country. In the current year, while the performance of transaction-based audit has been up, the performance of premises-based audit and thematic audit has been flagging. While the sluggishness in the initial months of the financial year may be attributable to the pandemic, it needs to pick up now. It is noteworthy that the audit commissionerates have made a detection of about Rs. 211.71 crore and recovered Rs. 71.51 crore. This new experiment initiated by the Board through a pan-India vertical, looks promising and the officers have done well to take it up in right earnest. It needs to be taken to its next level now and the Chief Commissioners who constitute the core team need to strategise its effective deployment.
Later today, I believe you would have downloaded the Budget papers and gone through the D.O. letter of Joint Secretary, TRU explaining the nuances of the Budget changes. Do take time to discuss the same with your officers and staff, especially those who have joined the Department recently and may not be well versed with the process. In the rare case that some discrepancy is noticed, please bring it to the notice of JS, TRU through the Zonal CC immediately.
The next few days will revolve around the Budget and in handholding the trade and our new staff to comply with the changes. I wish you well in this endeavour. Stay safe and healthy.
with best wishes
(M. Ajit Kumar)
All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs