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: 05th October 2020
This week starts on a very welcome and positive note. The gross GST revenue collection for the month of September, 2020 stands at 95,480 crore. This is very encouraging in that, despite the adverse effects of the pandemic on the economy, the collection is 4% higher than the GST revenue in the same month last year. Although we are marginally short of the month’s target as desired by the Board, your efforts in helping garner this revenue, is noteworthy. Remote monitoring and nudging tax payers using the departmental IT facility has undoubtedly contributed to this positive trend in revenue.
Last week we looked at the IT processes on the GST side and I did mention that in the coming week we would turn our attention towards the critical role of IT in Customs administration. Indian Customs have been witnessing a sea change in its functioning in the past few months with certain major Customs initiatives being taken in a very short span of time. Apart from the phased roll out of `Turant Customs’ and it’s important component ‘Faceless Assessment’, two other major initiatives have also been notified for implementation: Customs (Administration of Rules of Origin under Trade Agreements) Rules, 2020 (CAROTAR), and Sea Cargo Manifest and Transhipment Regulations (SCMTR). While the policy formulation at the Board and its implementation by field formations are the most visible part of these reforms, the role played by the Directorate of Systems & Data Management (DG Systems) in providing a platform for these must be acknowledged. Apart from this, DG Systems has implemented multiple Customs initiatives, which facilitate trade while capturing critical data for effective revenue monitoring and policy review.
Recently, filing of import and export declarations with non-standard units like packs, bags, etc. have been discontinued. This will greatly help in data standardisation for statistical or valuation related analysis. Further, the deferred duty facility has been extended to authorised Public Undertakings in terms of Board’s Circular 37/2020 dated 19/08/2020, which is expected to help them immensely in faster import clearance and better working capital management, especially during these critical times. A new module has been made available in ICES for recording progress in respect of unclaimed and uncleared cargo which will help in monitoring timely action and early disposal. Provisions have been made in the Bills of Entry to capture important details relating to determining Origin criteria for imports under any FTA/PTA in terms of CAROTAR.
An e-Payment Gateway at ICEGATE has also been enabled for SEZ units to pay duties. The platform will gradually be expanded to other categories including Courier and International travellers. Further, measures to monitor the facility provided to users for changing bank account details online has been done by way of an online report to officers at port locations. They can monitor how many users have applied online for a change and where action is still pending with officers.
Officers administering Customs related work are expected to make themselves fully aware about various initiatives of the DG Systems on the Customs side. This will help us immensely in correctly and efficiently applying the law, aiding revenue mobilisation efforts and facilitating trade.
Reports keep coming in of the successful efforts of our field formations in thwarting and preventing illicit gold smuggling amidst the pandemic and the officers concerned deserve our appreciation. DRI units in the North East have made some very good breakthroughs last week. Acting on intelligence, DRI, Siliguri Zonal Unit, has recovered and seized 202 pieces of gold biscuit illicitly brought into India through the Indo-Myanmar border in the state of Manipur, weighing approximately 33.53 Kgs and valued at Rs.17.5 crores. DRI, Imphal, intercepted a vehicle and recovered/seized in total 41 pieces of foreign origin gold bars weighing approximately 6.8 Kg valued at Rs.3.4 crores. DRI, Guwahati Zonal Unit, also intercepted 4 pax travelling in Avadh Assam Express with the assistance of RPF, Guwahati, wherein a total of 13 gold bars of foreign origin weighing 2.15 Kgs and valued at Rs.1.12 crores have been recovered.
AIU officers at the Hyderabad Airport had intercepted a consignment in which gold biscuits were being clandestinely moved from Hyderabad to Mumbai and Jaipur. The consignment was found to contain foreign-marked gold bars of 24 KT weighing 2.4Kgs, gold jewelry weighing 3.6 Kgs (22 KT) and 2.7 (18 KT), loose cut / uncut diamonds of 1.4 KT and semi-precious stones (.8Kgs) along with watches and antique coins. The total value of the consignment seized was assayed at Rs. 6.62 crores by a Government approved assayer.
It is also a matter of satisfaction that the roll out of the e-invoice initiative on 01/10/2020 for businesses with turnover above Rs. 500 crores has been a success. In three days, as of 03/10/2020, more than 26,000 distinct taxpayers have generated upwards of 24 lakh IRNs (Invoice Reference Number). This would benefit the taxpayer by reduced compliance cost and would also simplify compliance verification.
Today, we have an important GST Council Meeting scheduled and it is expected to take decisions further for the benefit of taxpayers as a whole. Officers must update themselves and disseminate the trade friendly measures taken at the earliest to all taxpayers under their jurisdiction. Zonal Twitter and social media handles should carry the news in local languages also.
We have some very exciting work challenges to meet this month and it’s essential that all of us remain hale and hearty. I wish good health to all officers and staff and their families.
with best wishes
(M. Ajit kumar)
All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs