Weekly newsletter from Chairman, CBIC dated 20/09/2021
Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs
Date: 20th September 2021
The 45th GST Council Meeting was held on 16th-17th September 2021 at Lucknow under the Chairmanship of the Union Finance Minister and the Chairperson, GST Council Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman. A series of trade friendly recommendations were discussed and agreed upon by the GST Council. Some of the recommendations include: COVID-19 relief measure in the form of GST rate concessions for specified drugs; adopting the reverse charge mechanism on supply of mentha oil from unregistered persons; brick kilns being brought under a special composition scheme; Clarifications in relation to the GST rate on Goods and Services; Correction of inverted duty structure on footwear and textiles sector, etc. There were also several measures announced for trade facilitation by making some changes in GST laws and procedure. In addition to the above, the Council decided to set up two GoMs. One, to examine the issue of taxes from the point of view of revenue augmentation, and the other to discuss ways and means of using technology to further strengthen the institutional mechanism for sharing of intelligence and coordinated enforcement actions by the Centre and the States.
Notifications/Circulars/Orders/Clarifications giving effect to these changes will be issued in the coming days. We need to urgently conduct outreach programs to convey the intent and rationale of the recommendations of the Council, both to the officers and tax payers. Board will soon come out with guidelines in this regard.
On the side-lines of the GST Council Meeting, I had a review meeting of the Lucknow Zone and interacted with officers and staff of the Zone at Lucknow. Member (GST) and I also interacted with the trade and professional bodies at Varanasi. A visit was made to the new office building under construction in Gomti Nagar, Lucknow, which is expected to house the executive Commissionerates of GST and Customs, along with Divisions, NACIN RTI, DGoV, PAO, etc. Once completed by this year end, the building, due to its size and design, is expected to be one of the iconic buildings in Lucknow. I appreciate the work done by the Chief Commissioner Shri Ajay Dixit and his team in planning, obtaining requisite sanction and monitoring the execution of the project. It is a welcome welfare measure for the staff and will bring convenience to the trade.
In my letter last week I did mention about DRI, IZU, being the first to use the recently amended Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962 relating to expeditious pre-trail disposal of seized Gold. The Commissioner (Prey) at Lucknow informed me that they had in early August already used this provision for pre-trial disposal of gold in 17 cases. I am glad this new provision is steadily increasing in its usage and has started giving intended results. Other formations should adopt this procedure too and ensure that there is no seized gold in our godown stock beyond three months.
The week gone by has been an eventful one on the anti-smuggling and anti-evasion fronts. In one of the largest haul of narcotics drugs in recent times, the DRI, Ahmedabad Zonal Unit based on inputs from NCTC (DGARM) and acting on its own intelligence has along with Mundra Customs, seized about 3,000 kgs of Heroin imported in the guise of Talcum Powder. The said consignment originated from Afghanistan and was routed through Iran to India. Two persons have been arrested. Further investigations are in progress. The DRI, DZU has seized gold of foreign origin weighing 19.2 kgs from the New Courier Terminal, New Delhi, valued at Rs. 9 crore approx. One person has been arrested in this connection. In yet another case, the DRI DZU, acting on intelligence passed on by its headquarters, seized 100 capsules containing 1490 grams of Cocaine at IGI airport, New Delhi, and arrested the passenger.
On the anti-evasion front, the DGGI, Hyderabad Zonal Unit, in two cases, has made good detection and recovery. In one instance, while the detection of GST fraud was of Rs. 291 crores in relation to utilization of ITC on inward supplies for which the supplier were apparently not eligible, the party admitted the lapse and have reversed ITC of Rs 264 crore, whereas in the other instance, the detection of the fraud is to the tune of Rs. 215 crore relating to short payment on outward supplies and also failing in paying GST at appropriate rate under RCM on seigniorage charges. The taxpayer as of now has admitted and reversed ineligible ITC of Rs. 20.7 crore. The officers of CGST Comm’rate, Belagavi, acting on an intelligence passed by the DGGI, Mangalore Zonal Unit, had intercepted and seized Arecanut along with the vehicle carrying the Arecanut worth Rs. 7 crore without GST documents / e-Way Bill.
Some other notable achievements in the previous week were cases on valuation / irregular discounts made by the DGGI, Ahmedabad Zonal Unit, wherein detection of fraud to the tune of Rs. 65.79 crores was made resulting in recovery of Rs. 75.75 crores including penalty.
I congratulate the officers and staffs of DRI, DGGI, NCTC, Customs and GST formations, for the above detections.
On the HR management front, it is very important to adhere to the APAR writing timelines. The deadline of self-appraisal is already over whereas the last date for reporting APAR cycle 2020-21 is 30th September, 2021. It is expected that all officers complete the reporting formalities in time without waiting for the last day.
Board had launched a service litigation portal, e-seva-vivad, w.e.f. 01.04.2021. I am told that many formations are yet to update the cases of service litigation on the portal. It is important that the database is updated properly to address court matters on time. A special drive has been commenced from 13th September, 2021 for uploading all pending live cases during the ensuing fortnight. The CCAs must put this task on their priority list.
The zonal allocation has been finalized for a total of 2921 Inspectors (CGST, POs & Examiners) and TAs allotted to CBIC in CGLE 2018. I am happy to note that CCAs have already started collecting the dossiers. I do hope that the CCAs would take necessary steps to ensure that the appointment process of these candidates as well as stenographers is completed quickly.
An old saga came to a close last week. A dispute arose in 1965, just after the Gold Control Act came into being, on the ownership of gold, presumably a part of a treasure find. This led to an order delivered in 1975 by the Additional Assistant Sessions Judge, Udaipur, imprisoning certain persons involved and with directions to hand over possession of the gold to the nearest Gold Control Officer. The order put our Central Excise department at Udaipur, which was implementing the Gold Control Act, at the centre of the unfolding story. There after the matter took a circuitous route of different courts and judicial authorities. Around a total of 63 kgs of gold bars and assorted ornaments approximately worth Rs. 30 crore were finally handed over to the department last week from the State Malkhana. The commitment shown by Shri Pramod Kumar Singh, Chief Commissioner and Shri B.S. Meena, Commissioner (Udaipur), along with their team of officers, in diligently perusing the matter and taking possession of the gold after so many decades, deserve appreciation.
Wishing you good health and cheer.
M. Ajit Kumar
All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs