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 : [email protected]

M. Ajitkumar, Chairman


Date: 27th July 2020

Trade facilitation is a key factor in increasing the competitiveness of our goods in the international market. It helps by reducing time and cost for trade and industry. While this objective is a worthy one, we have to ensure that this does not result in non-compliant goods being facilitated. Similarly, the menace of fake-invoicing is a challenge that we face in the GST regime. All this requires that we identify risky players, both in the international and domestic trade, and subject their transactions to closer scrutiny while allowing licit transactions to be processed expeditiously.

Exchange of data between departments helps closing the gaps in information and in checking compliance in advance, resulting in the quicker clearance of licit cargo and allowing monetary fiscal benefits to be paid on time. In furtherance of this objective, the CBIC and the CBDT have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 21.07.2020, superseding the one signed in the year 2015. This MoU will facilitate enhanced sharing of data and information between the two organisations on an automatic and regular basis. It also marks a new era of cooperation and synergy between the two organizations. I appreciate the efforts of the officers of DG Systems especially that of Shri B. B. Gupta, ADG (ADW), and his team, for their work leading to the finalisation of the MoU. I am sure that the data exchanged would be disseminated and used extensively to serve the trade as well as safeguard revenue.

The Sea Cargo Manifest and Transhipment Regulations (SCMTR), is designed to be a key facilitating process for vessels carrying cargo to and from Indian ports. This will also help Customs trace / track the movement of cargo and will be an important building block for trade facilitation and risk-management. The Regulations, are to come into effect from 1st August, 2020. Registration of the maximum number of entities/stakeholders such as custodians, transhippers, shipping lines/agents, etc. under SCMTR is a crucial requirement for its success. With less than a week to go, Zonal Chiefs and the nodal officers of the Commissionerates are expected to keenly monitor the preparations and its onboarding in their formations.

During the last week, Delhi Customs, IGI Airport, made a seizure of Foreign Branded Cigarettes worth Rs 66.60 lakh, which was being smuggled by 13 Indian passengers through an evacuation flight under Vande Bharat Mission from Dubai. The case was made due to the keen observation by our officers of passengers exiting the terminal. I congratulate Ms. Priyanka Gulati, Deputy Commissioner, IGI Airport, Delhi and her team for the seizure. Similarly. the Customs (Prey.) Lucknow team seized a truck carrying 19950 Kg of Vietnamese-origin betel nut worth Rs 59.85 lakh. I congratulate Shri V. K. Tiwari, Asst. Commr., Gorakhpur (P) Division, Customs (Preventive), Lucknow and his team for effecting the seizure.

Continuing with our efforts to enhance and strengthen trade ties with our neighbours, Indian Customs at Kolkata facilitated the inaugural run of the first ever container train service with 50 containers containing Fabrics, FMCGs and Cosmetics under Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) from Majerhat, Kolkata to Benapole, Bangladesh through ICP Petrapole.

The Board has been closely monitoring the implementation of e-Office in CBIC. Places where the implementation has been done successfully should switch over to the new mode for current work. It is heartening to note that our officers are making efforts in the active handholding of departmental officers in operating the e-Office Module. Ms S. Vandana Raj, Assistant Commissioner, Nungambakkam Division, Chennai has come out with e-Office capsule videos, consisting of a series of educational short duration videos on e-Office, as part of the e-Office training programme of the Chennai GST Zone. These videos elucidates the processes involved in day-to-day application of e-Office with great clarity. Shri Akhilesh Kumar, Superintendent (Tech), Ranchi CGST Commissionerate, Ranchi has prepared training lessons on e-Office for departmental officers on 15 topics. Congratulations to both the officers on their commendable effort. I am sure that the Zonal chiefs are identifying and encouraging other such officers to create in-house expertise that would popularize and demystify this new system in their zones.

Central and Zonal officers managing departmental social media platforms serving the public have been proactive last week. We are developing a synergy in spreading awareness and clarity about indirect tax matters among the taxpayers by coordinated responses in Hindi, English and vernacular languages with good graphics that are easy to understand. All Zones should contribute to this effort especially in carrying vernacular messages and in increasing our following among the public. This would help take our electronic outreach to a large section of taxpayers at their place of convenience in these times of social distancing. It will help the taxpayer get information and clarity in matters related to indirect tax laws more easily. A better informed trade can be expected to be more tax compliant. We must also continue to be alert and quick to address issues and grievances of taxpayers received through social media.

The month of July comes to an end this week and it is time to bid farewell, on behalf of all of you and on my own personal behalf, to my senior colleague Shri A. K. Pandey, Member, CBIC, who would be superannuating this month after an illustrious career of 37 years in the service of the nation. He has been a valuable colleague in the Board and will be missed. I also extend my best wishes to other officers in various cadres and ranks who would be superannuating this month.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy week ahead.

Yours sincerely

(M. Ajit Kumar)


All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs

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