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: 26th July 2021
On 22nd 22nd July, 2021, CBIC signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Maldives Customs Service for cooperation in the exchange of pre-arrival customs information. While this concept had been discussed at various international fora, not many countries have come forward to implement it. The MoU, a first of its kind between India and another Customs Administration, will enable automatic exchange of customs data between the two countries on a real time basis. The data will be received in the importing country before arrival of goods, and will be used for both trade facilitation and customs compliance purposes using risk management techniques. I would like to place on record my appreciation for the role played by Member (Customs), officers of the International Customs Division and DG Systems who, along with Maldives Customs officials, successfully negotiated and finalized the MoU in a very short time. I am happy to inform that 7 other nations have now expressed similar interest and are at various degrees of engagement with Indian Customs. You may recall from my previous letters that the CBIC had, during the 5th WCO Global AEO Conference held during 25th to 27th May 2021, also suggested that WCO include the pre-arrival data exchange program under one of the pillars of the SAFE initiative so that it provides an impetus to supply chain security.
CBIC has been continuously bringing systemic reforms under the umbrella of Turant Customs’ to reduce the compliance burden for citizens and business entities leading to enhanced Ease of Doing Business. This initiative has also been reflected in the significant score attained by India in the UN Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation, 2021. Taking these steps forward, the necessity of seeking periodic renewal of the licenses/registrations issued under the Licence/Registration in Customs Brokers Licensing Regulations, 2021 and Sea Cargo Manifest and Transhipment Regulations, 2018, has been dispensed with conditionally. Therefore, the licenses/registrations once issued would be valid for lifetime subject to certain conditions. Notification Nos. 61/2021-Customs (NT), 62/2021-Customs (NT) and Circular No. 17/2021-Customs, all dated 23rd July, 2021, have been issued in this regard.
On the Anti-smuggling front, acting on specific intelligence, officers of DRI Siliguri Regional Unit intercepted a vehicle coming from Guwahati and moving towards Lucknow. On thorough rummaging, 50 gold biscuits of foreign origin weighing about 8.3 Kg with an approximate value of Rs. 4.07 crore were found concealed in the said vehicle. The vehicle was seized and two persons have been arrested.
The vigil of the officers of CIU, Mumbai Customs Zone III on the import of sensitive goods has led to detection and seizure of mis-declared goods consisting of 160 Limited Edition Apple Watch Series, 6,600 pieces Apple Air Pods Pro and Garments of Pakistan origin. The provisional market value of the consignment is about Rs. 3 crore.
On 21St July 2021, Delhi Airport Customs unearthed a gold smuggling ring and arrested 7 persons, involving 3 passengers and 4 airline staff, for smuggling in two gold bars pieces and one gold biscuit, totally weighing 517.2 grams and valued at Rs. 22,89,295.
On suspicion, the baggage of two passengers who arrived at Chennai international airport on 25th July, 2021 was examined. Gold was found concealed in household goods carried by these passengers, totally weighing around 8.180 Kg valued at around Rs 4.03 crore. Further investigation is on.
On the anti-evasion front, DGGI, Delhi Zonal Unit, acting on intelligence which was corroborated through BIFA, unearthed a case of availment / utilization and passing on of inadmissible input tax credit (ITC) of Rs. 72 crores on fake invoices carrying a value of approximately Rs. 305 crores. In another case detected by the DGGI Shimla Regional Unit, a web of fictious firms involving 32 GSTINs was used in passing on of ineligible duty credit to the tune of Rs. 172 crores.
Congratulations to the Officers and staff for successfully unearthing the above cases.
Officers of Kolkata Customs at Petrapole LCS facilitated the first ever export of 216.40 MTS Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO), by Rail in ISO tanks to Benapole in Bangladesh. This would further strengthen our relationship with a friendly neighbour.
On the HR front, like the previous week, as part of the orders under issue for the Annual General Transfers, the orders for officers of SAG/JAG and STS/JTS level officers too have been issued. My best wishes to all the officers in their new roles and assignments. The Zonal Chiefs and the Heads of the Directorates may ensure that these officers are being relieved on by the due date.
The Zones/Directorates have been organising covid vaccination camps for the officers and staff and their family members as part of preventive measure to contain the spread of Covid virus. I am informed by the Chief Commissioner that Chandigarh Zone has achieved 100 % vaccination of all eligible officers and staff. It is an effort achievement worth emulation by all Zones and Directorates. Congratulations to the Zone.
The last week of the month is also the time to bid farewell to retiring officials. On behalf of all of you and on my own personal behalf, I extend my best wishes to Shri G. V. Krishna Rao, Principal Chief Commissioner of GST & CX, Chennai Zone, who would be superannuating this month after a long career spanning 34 years. While appreciating his services and contribution to the department, I also extend my best wishes to all other officers and staff of various cadres and ranks who would be superannuating this month.
In a fine humanitarian gesture, officers of Ratnagiri Customs going beyond the call of duty, rendered succour and timely relief to those in need. The humanitarian support was extended by our officers during the recent floods at Chiplun, Ratnagiri District, Maharashtra, by providing relief material and assistance to the local administration and to people in distress. They also organised and participated in rescue operations with the district administration which is highly commendable. My appreciation to the officers concerned for their courage and timely action.
May these good deeds of our colleagues, remind us of our capabilities and responsibilities and help us attain fulfilment, happiness and good health. Take care.
(M. Ajit Kumar)
All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs