Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs
North Block, New Delhi-110001
Tel. No.: +91-11-23092849, Fax : +91-11-23092890
E-mail : [email protected]
Date: 10th May 2021
We are in the midst of a challenging time, a time which calls for resilience both individually and as a service. Our officers and staff have exhibited this to an admirable degree so much so that, in an extra ordinary gesture, the Hon’ble Minister of State for Finance, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, in a video message put out on social media, has acknowledged and thanked our officers and staff for risking their lives for clearing essential medical supplies swiftly so that it reaches the needy. It was their actions, he said, by which the wheels of the government system are running efficiently. He also paid homage to the 110 of our officers and staff who have lost their life due to the pandemic. These words have enthused us immensely and will help us double our efforts to serve the nation. I thank him on behalf of the department and on my personal behalf. Encomiums for our department’s good work also came from the tweets of our Hon’ble Finance Minister, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Minister of External Affairs and the CEO NITI Aayog, among others. We are grateful to each one of them and assure them of our continued dedication and our commitment to work around the clock.
The past two weeks has been an extraordinary period during which approximately 70 special flights have landed from various countries and have been facilitated by Customs on a war footing. Rising to the situation, Customs formations across India has been working fearlessly 24 x 7 for expeditious clearance of COVID related imports despite the difficulties of working during a horrendous pandemic and even medical set-backs to colleagues and families. Board congratulates all our officers and staff for their selfless devotion to duty. A special word of thanks to all officers and staff at Delhi Air Cargo for work well done inspite of the pressure of higher volumes of imports in round-the-clock operations.
In view of the surging COVID-19 pandemic, a further relaxation for import of relief goods has been made by issue of ad hoc exemption Order No. 04/2021-Customs dated 03.05.2021. This grants exemption from IGST on goods for COVID-19 relief imported free of cost for free distribution till 30th June, 2021. The relief materials include Remdesivir injection and APIs, certain diagnostic markers, medical oxygen, oxygen concentrators and other oxygen storage and transportation equipment and COVID-19 vaccines which have also been exempted from BCD and Health Cess earlier. Care must be taken to ensure swift clearance as is being done in the case of special flights. Further, based on industry feedback, so as to aid the trade during the times of pandemic, the requirement of submitting bonds has been temporarily relaxed by permitting acceptance of plain paper undertakings till 30.06.2021.
It is also a matter of pride that CRCL laboratory at Vadodara has been recognised as a FSSAI laboratory w.e.f. 11.04.2021. The scope of NABL accreditation has also been extensively increased. With this we now have two labs recognised by FSSAI.
On the anti-smuggling front, the officers of SIIB (Import) Mumbai-II Customs had affected a seizure of about 43.4 lakh sticks of cigarettes valued at Rs. 6.51 crore on 28th April, 2021. Based on the intelligence provided by DRI Kolkata, the field units of DRI at Bhopal, Indore and Raipur, in a joint operation, seized about 18 Kgs. of Gold and Silver Bullion of about 4563 Kgs, valued around Rs. 42.69 crore in the first week of May. Last week, in another intelligence-based operation spearheaded by the DRI, more than 22 Kgs of Heroin was seized at Bengaluru and Chennai Airports. The DRI Bengaluru Zonal Unit seized about 7 Kgs (net) of Heroin from incoming passengers at the Bengaluru Airport, while the Chennai Customs seized another huge cache of 15.6 Kgs of Heroin from incoming passengers at the Chennai International Airport. My appreciation to these formations and the officers involved for keeping up their vigil in these challenging times and thwarting these attempts at smuggling.
I would like to congratulate Shri Sanjay Srinet, IRS (1993 Batch) on his appointment as Chairman, Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission. I wish him all the very best in his new assignment.
In my letter dated 5th May, 2021, addressed to the Pr.CCs/CCs and Pr. DGs/DGs, and HRD in its communication to the field formations on 3rd May, 2021, the broad framework and measures of CBIC’s covid response and outreach programme – `CBIC AASHVAASAN’ had been explicitly outlined. It seeks to standardise a procedure in the Zones for medical aid and assistance both in financial terms and by way of supply of essentials including medicines/food, transport, etc. to all members of the CBIC fraternity. Officers and staff members can view the updated contact details of the All-India Covid response team on the DGHRD website. I have requested that this list also be circulated as an electronic .pdf document for better reach to one and all. It is now time to ensure that all eligible benefits including retirement benefits / family pension / lump sum amounts due to the families of officers who are sadly no longer in our midst, is not delayed. I extoll each one of you who either due to your personal closeness to the family or because you are part of the office processing the matter, to be compassionate and attend to this work on a priority basis. To avoid inconvenience to the family, it is important that the Covid Response Team designates one of the volunteers among you to be in touch with the family and do the needful. Further, in case of families who have lost their sole breadwinner, a complete application for compassionate appointment of a family member can also be obtained from the family and handed over to the office for consideration.
As reflected in the statement of the Hon’ble Minister of State, there has been an irreparable loss to our strength due to the Pandemic. I, on behalf of the department and on my own behalf, express heartfelt condolences to the families of the departed and reaffirm our commitment to stand with the bereaved families in these difficult times. Take care.
with best wishes
(M. Ajit Kumar)
All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs