The Governor of Maharashtra Shri B.S. Koshyari gave an introductory speech in the webinar on this topic which was jointly organized along with Confederation of Indian Industry today. This was followed by a panel discussion with senior officials of the Customs Department and addressing of queries raised by industry stakeholders.
The Governor said, “If we are sincere, we are honest and lead by setting an example, then Industry will definitely follow your example to bring positive change”. Congratulating the organizers for the webinar, he further said, contactless, paperless faceless operations by Customs Department will help in not only industry facilitation, but also eliminate corruption, thereby help to build Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
Customs will become contactless, paperless faceless but would always be there striving for trade and industry facilitation and for building Aatma Nirbhar Bharat, stated Rajesh Kumar Verma, Additional Director General in Mumbai Zonal Unit of Directorate General of Taxpayer Services under Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), in his introductory remarks and presentation on ‘Role of Customs in Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’.
Dr Rajesh Kumar Verma highlighted the measures taken by the Customs Department for facilitating trade and commerce especially in the time of COVID-19, some of which are as following:
- 24×7 custom clearance facility has been implemented at all custom formations to avoid any supply chain disruption.
- Special care has been taken in the clearance of passengers coming from affected countries. Separate channels were created at the airports, port terminals and land customs stations for such passengers. Customs officers strictly followed instructions to use masks, gloves and sanitizers.
- A nodal officer has been designated in each customs zone of India who can be approached for any issue pertaining to clearance of cargo. The list is available on the CBIC website.
- Shipping Lines have been asked not to levy detention charges on containers held up for reasons attributable to lockdown measures.
- To minimize human interface and maximize social distancing, the OOC (Out of Charge) work, so far performed by an officer, has been assigned to the EDI system.
- Zonal Customs Chief Commissioners have asked local custodians (Inland Container Depots and Container Freight Stations) to exempt demurrage charges during the lockdown period
The panel of comprising of Mrs Rama Mathew DG (West), DGGI & Chief Commissioner, Mumbai; Mr DP Nagendra Kumar Pr Chief Commissioner, Bengaluru; and Mrs Krishna A Mishra Chief Commissioner, Pune and other senior officials from Customs addressed to queries from Industry body and its stakeholders. They clarified doubts and apprehensions about changes being introduced in the system and assured that new systemic reforms will bring efficient and effective service delivery for traders to import and export without any need for physical attendance and anonymity will bring impartial and transparent assessments without any undue influences.
In the concluding remarks, Mrs Rama Mathew, DG (West), Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) and Chief Commissioner in Mumbai stated, Customs Department has been responsible for its stakeholder and would achieve effective delivery on faceless assessment. Policy interventions will be made to address concerns of traders and facilitate import-export, added Mrs Mathew. In the context of maintenance of digital records, Mrs Krishna Mishra, Principal Chief Commissioner, Pune, stated, a digitalized department would be an asset, in the long run, moving ahead. Stressing on the need to reach out by the Department, Mr DP Nagendra Kumar, Pr. Chief Commissioner, Bengaluru, said, feedback is important, and so is organizing interactive workshops for knowledge sharing. Ms Tanushree Banerjee from Confederation Indian Industry gave vote thanks, with a note that it had been fruitful and engaging discussion for all participants and such sessions give a platform to understand rules, procedure and nuance of the reforms undertaken.