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Thursday, Aug 12, 2004

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Chidambaram meets Customs, Central excise settlement commission members

K.R. Srivats

New Delhi , Aug. 11

THE Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, on Wednesday met Customs and Central excise Settlement Commission members.

Informed sources said that the discussions revolved around the steps that could be initiated for making best use of the institution of settlement commission for speedy disposal of disputes.

Indications are that the status of some of the high revenue yielding cases also came up for discussion during the meeting that lasted about 30 minutes.

Besides the Chairman, the members of the principal bench and the regional benches of the Settlement Commission were present at the meeting.

On the indirect taxes front, the total tax arrears are estimated at about Rs 15,000 crore (including the recoverable undisputed arrears of Rs 3,000 crore). Like the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), the Customs and Central Excise Settlement Commission functions under the Union Finance Ministry.

The Customs and central Settlement Commission was constituted in 1999 to settle disputes expeditiously in a spirit of conciliation. The idea was to avoid lengthy litigation which neither helped the tax department nor the trade and industry.

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