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]
M. Ajit Kumar, Chairman
Date: 31st May 2021
The week that has passed by has been an eventful one. To begin with, the 43rd Meeting of the GST Council was held on 28th May, 2021 under the chairmanship of the Hon’ble Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister. The Council, as a relief measure to cope with the pandemic, has recommended extending full exemption from IGST for Covid-relief related goods covered by the adhoc exemption, meant for donation to the government or on recommendation of State Authority to any relief agency, even if imported on payment basis. Hitherto, IGST exemption was available under this only when these goods were imported “free of cost” for free distribution. These goods are already exempted from Basic Customs duty. Further, in view of the rise in Black Fungus cases, Amphotericin B has been recommended for inclusion in the list of goods covered by the exemption from IGST. In order to support the Lymphatic Filariasis (an endemic) elimination programme being conducted in collaboration with WHO, the GST rate on Diethylcarbamazine (DEC) tablets has been approved for reduction to 5% from 12%.
Amnesty measures under the GST Acts have been proposed as a measure of trade facilitation, by extending due dates of return filing and rationalising the late fee imposable. Simplifications in the filing of Annual Returns have also been approved. Clarifications/clarificatory amendments have been approved for certain notifications. The GST Policy and TRU wings of the Board have toiled hard to render policy-level inputs and support the Council in their deliberations. The work of these wings is appreciated.
On the international stage last week, I represented India as a keynote speaker at WCO’s virtual conference on ‘AEO 2.0: Advancing Towards New Horizons for Sustainable and Secure Trade’. India’s successful post-pandemic response to supply chain disruptions, by leveraging its IT strength through Turant Customs was highlighted. Increased AEO participation in trade over the years has led to reduced risks from a larger segment of importers leading to greater facilitation. The conference was informed that this along with our EODB measures, especially during the pandemic, has helped rebuild trade volumes quickly. The need for collaborative risk assessment by Customs Administrations worldwide by sharing pre-arrival transaction level data, and that of risky entities, was emphasised. This would extend collective risk assessment to a broader set of supply chain and was suggested as a way forward for AEO 2.0.
As a part of its constant endeavour to facilitate trade and ameliorate the genuine difficulties faced by AEO’s in getting their certification renewed due to lock down, it was decided to extend the validity of all AEOs expired/expiring from between 01.04.2021 to 31.05.2021 till 30.06.2021 (other than those that has been withheld/ not renewed). Suitable instructions have been issued to this effect by the Directorate of International Customs last week.
It is of great pleasure to inform you of good news for our Customs Appraisers after a considerable period of time. After intensive follow up and extensive inter-departmental consultations, the Board has notified the amended Recruitment Rules of Appraiser, 2021 in the Gazette of India on 28.05.2021. The major changes in the notified. Recruitment Rules of Appraiser, 2021 include reducing the qualifying service from 3 years to 2 years for the feeder posts of Inspector (Examiner) to be eligible for promotion to the posts of Appraiser in line with the provisions in Recruitment Rules of Superintendent of Central Excise and Superintendent of Customs (Preventive) under CBIC. The promotion quota has also been increased from 50% to 95% in the grade of Appraiser.
The above provisions in the Recruitment Rules of Appraiser, 2021 would pave the way for filling up a large number of vacant posts in the grade of Appraiser by promotion. Cadre controlling authorities are advised to prepare for a DPC on priority. DGHRD will, in consultation with the zones, announce a common date for holding of DPC and promotions so as to ensure appropriate seniority to the eligible officers across zones.
On the infrastructure and asset-creation front, I am happy to inform that the Ministry has accorded financial and administrative approval for the construction of DRI’s Chennai Zonal Unit Office. The entire project costs about Rs. 52 crore inclusive of the land cost. I am sure the Directorate will follow up to ensure that the office is built on time without any delay.
Another proposal for granting, financial assistance roughly amounting to Rs. 6.5 lakh from the Customs and Central Excise Welfare Fund for setting up of Gymnasium facilities in the office of the CGST Daman Commissionerate situated at Vapi has also been approved.
On the anti-smuggling front, Ludhiana Customs deserves appreciation for the good work done in effecting seizure of ‘Peas’. The. Import Shed staff at ICD-HTPL at Kila Raipur exercised due diligence while examining a consignment declared as ‘Bamboo Beans’ and found fully stuffed bags containing Peas. Peas is a restricted item for import. Undeclared Peas weighing 102 MT (approximate) valued at Rs. 2.04 crore was found and the same has been seized.
In one of my previous letters, I had requested you all to acquaint me about officers and staff who are providing exemplary support to Covid relief work in the department. A reader has written to me about the extensive and dedicated work continuing to be done by Ms. Leema Jose, Superintendent at Chennai. He writes that she has been ensuring that officers and staff irrespective of cadre are vaccinated and that every call of distress by Covid affected staff are attended to. She has even been arranging for the mortal remains of staff who have lost the battle to Covid be taken to their respective places, among many other things. My appreciation to her and all other staff members who lend their shoulders to reduce the burden of others.
Before signing off, I extend my best wishes to all officers and staff who would be superannuating this month. Stay safe and healthy.
(M. Ajit Kumar)
All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Custom