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 : firstname.lastname@example.org
Dated: 23rd November, 2020
Ensuring supply chain security is a significant objective of Customs organisations around the world. This entails close cooperation between customs administrations of various countries in ensuring safe and seamless flow of trade. I am happy to inform that, in furtherance of this objective, CBIC hosted the Third Bilateral Joint Working Group (JWG) Meeting with the Australia Border Force on 17th November 2020, by Video Conference. Discussions were held on a range of issues including sharing of our mutual experience in dealing with the impact of Covid on customs operations and the possibility of leveraging information technology to reduce physical intervention in customs procedures. The key takeaway of the JWG was the signing of the Joint Action Plan for MRA (AEO) negotiations thereby setting the road map for the AEO MRA which is to be finalised by June, 2022. Further, Australia supported India’s proposal and agreed to set up a joint group on pre-arrival data exchange. Such data exchange it was felt will enhance trade facilitation and tax compliance with revenue augmentation being a collateral benefit.
Last week was an action packed week for DRI. Meticulous planning and efforts were made by the DRI-DZU officers in intercepting two trucks which had come from the Indo-Myanmar border. This resulted in the agency seizing 400 gold bars weighing 66.4 Kgs valued at Rs.35 crores. This was one of the biggest seizures of gold in recent times. The gold was ingeniously concealed in the fuel tanks of the trucks and destined for ,Punjab. The event facilitated an impromptu visit by Member (Investigation) and me to a Directorate in which we had both served. It was a pleasure to laud the courage and express our appreciation for team-DRI. It may be recalled that a few months earlier officers had risked their lives while thwarting smuggling attempts in different parts of the country. In a second operation, code named `Calypso’, spanning more than three days and covering Mumbai and Udaipur, DRI unearthed an international drug smuggling racket by seizing over half a kg of cocaine couriered from Trinidad & Tobago to Mumbai.
It’s a matter of great satisfaction that the action taken by DRI has been mirrored by the field formations, last week. To mention a few, the Trichy Customs (Prey) Zone seized 2.02 Kgs of Gold at the Trichy & Madurai International Airport; the Vijayawada Customs seized about 1.86 Kgs of Gold at the Vijaywada International Airport; the Commissionerate of Customs (Preventive) Unit, Palakkad seized about 2 Kgs of smuggled Gold bars and cut pieces from passengers in Chennai-Alleppey super-fast train with the assistance of RPF; the Preventive Commissionerate under the Kolkata Customs effected seizure of 2.3 Kgs of Gold biscuits at Rajarhat, Kolkata and the Chennai Air Customs seized about 4 Kgs of Gold in the form of gold paste, chain & plate from passengers arriving from Dubai. On the narcotics front, Delhi Airport Customs has seized approximately 1 kg of cocaine from a Tanzanian national coming from Addis Ababa. Hearty congratulations to all the officers.
On the administration and welfare side, it gives me immense pleasure to inform that the GST Bhawan, Panchkula, was inaugurated on 19.11.2020, in the presence of the Members of the Board, officers of Panchkula zone and senior representatives from CPWD among others. The building constructed at a cost of Rs 31 crore is a state-of-the-art building. This is the first major infrastructure project of CBIC completed in these times of COVID. The building is a fully air-conditioned three storied building that has been built on a plot of about 1.4 acre with 7600 sq. m covered area. It shall house five offices i.e. offices of the Chief Commissioner, Commissioner GST, Commissioner (Audit), Commissioner (Appeals) and the Panchkula CGST Division of the Panchkula Zone. It also has a canteen and a four-bedroom guest house. Further, it is also proposed by the zone to have a creche and a gym as a part of staff welfare measures. The efforts put in by the officers of the zone led by the Chief Commissioner Shri Anil Kumar Jain, in tandem with the CPWD, is commendable and even more so considering that they have been able to complete the work in a short time while coping with the challenges posed by the pandemic.
It is also a matter of pleasure to inform you that the DPC to the grade of Principal Chief Commissioners/Director Generals was held on 17.11.2020. Further processes involved in the finalisation of promotions are expected to be completed in time. The Board is making efforts to hold DPCs in all other grades as well. We are also awaiting some positive news that will facilitate the promotion of Group B officers to Group A.
Lastly, sustained action on the ground by our officers during the past couple of weeks in addressing the GST fake-invoice menace has conveyed a strong message to the fraudsters involved in this modus operandi. The untiring efforts put in by DGGI and Zonal officers in this regard deserves appreciation. While the drive would continue, we need to augment our processes to ensure that such dubious entities are not able to enter and game the system, in the first place.
Wishing you all good health and cheer during the continuing festival season.
(M. Ajit Kumar)
All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs