Speed up cargo release, FM urges Customs

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on November 25, 2021

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman   -  PTI

Sitharaman calls for coordination to achieve ‘zero daily assessment pendency’

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday called on Customs officials for stronger administration and coordination of functions to achieve ‘zero daily assessment pendency’ and faster release of cargo.

During a review of Customs activities at Nhava Sheva, she also asked officials to recommend ways to use technology to further simplify and ease business processes and strengthen efficiency.

The Minister reviewed the initiatives taken by Customs for trade facilitation and stressed the need for consistent processing of export incentive schemes and timely disposal of refunds and drawback payable. Additionally, she exhorted officers to meet taxpayers and citizens to understand their expectations from the government.

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Officers should be proactive in redressing taxpayers’ grievances in an effective manner and to put in place a mechanism to ensure consistent awareness about changes in customs procedures.

Nationwide outreach

She also directed that a nationwide outreach be conducted by the CBIC on January 25, 2022 on the occasion of International Customs Day to engage with various stakeholders.

This outreach should create awareness about various path-breaking reforms being undertaken by the Customs Department for ease of doing business and elicit feedback from the stakeholders’ to address issues and and find quick solutions, said an official release.

She was accompanied by Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj and Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs M Ajith Kumar on the day-long visit.

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Sitharaman also asked officers to speed up disposal of hazardous goods and quasi-judicial process should be carried out in a manner to achieve disposal within three months of import. Adequate publicity should be given for the destruction of narcotics, she further said.

According to the release, the Minister undertook a detailed survey of the infrastructure at Nhava Sheva’s vessel, cargo and land-side stacking and transport operations.

Customs examination

To further boost trade facilitation, she initiated the setting up of a Customs Examination Facility for on-wheel factory-sealed export containers at JNPT’s Centralised Parking Plaza. “The Bhumi Pujan for this facility was performed by the Finance Minister today,” the release said.

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The facility shall obviate the need to move such containers, that are selected for examination on basis of risk, to be sent to a separate location. Both cost and time involved for exporters would be saved.

Nhava Sheva, which houses India’s largest container port JNPT, contributes nearly 20 per cent of the country’s Customs duty revenue.

Published on November 25, 2021

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