Letters to the editor dated May 21, 2021

| Updated on May 21, 2021

Customs duty relief

This refers to the news report ‘Customs duty relief for Covid tangled in red tape’ (May 20). The exemption has been given as an ad hoc exemption and not a general exemption because it is meant only for this consignment and not for everybody who may import as a commercial proposition.

Secondly, such exemptions are given only to charitable organisations which bring them free of cost and are meant for charitable use. Thirdly, the end-use certificate that has to be produced is only afterwards, usually within six months. It does not hold up consignments at present.

The comment that the importer would have to spend more time in the Customs house than with the patients is not correct.

There is a standard procedure for more than half a century known to the Clearing Agents. One Clearing Agent should have been appointed.

Regarding general exemption, the Finance Minister has turned down the request. She has given the reasons publicly. This is likely to be discussed in the coming meeting of the GST Council.

Sukumar Mukhopadhyay

Retired Member of CBEC

Creeping inflation

This refers to the editorial ‘Creeping threat’ ( May 21). While the second wave of the pandemic is posing severe economic distress, it is vital to control prices of essential commodities to aid recovery. The price rise in the global commodities and crude oil is directly impacting the cost of production of the manufacturing sector.

Use of indigenous raw materials is crucial to keep domestic prices in check. The growing transportation costs due to the rising costs of fuel is also pushing up inflation.

With pandemic’s surge destroying lives as well as livelihoods , growth-boosting measures are urgently needed, especially promotion of private and public investments to generate more jobs. Augmenting the supply of cheaper credit and restricting the performing assets of the banking system from turning bad assets are also essential to control inflation and promote investments. The reduction in the monetary policy rates is key to motivate investments but at the same time a constant vigil over prices must be maintained. The government and the banking regulator have to execute measures to push growth during these dire times.

VSK Pillai


RBI to the Centre’s rescue

Apropos ‘RBI board okays ₹99,122 cr surplus transfer to govt’, the RBI has done the transfer for a 9-month period from July 2020 to March, 2021, even as it aims at maintaining the Contingency Risk Buffer at 5.50 per cent. Notably, the RBI had last year decided to switch its accounting year from the traditional July-June to April-March.

It may be recalled that the RBI had transferred a meagre surplus of ₹57,128 crore to the Central government last year, the lowest in the past seven years. As against this, an unprecedentedly high ₹1,23,414 crore was transferred to the Central government in 2019.

Since the RBI is the banker to the Central government, a substantial transfer of surplus funds in accordance with Section 47 of the RBI Act, 1934, may come in handy for dealing with its various financial obligations (including massive expenses required for dealing with Covid) and minimising the Budgetary deficit vis-a-vis achieving its GDP targeting.

SK Gupta

New Delhi

Wanted, modern warehouses

Apropos ‘Warehousing industry needs a make over’ (May 21), given the surplus foodgrain stocks and the government’s food security commitments, especially in these pandemic times, storage of foodgrains is of utmost priority.

To curb wastage, modern warehouses need to be developed with skilled personnel manning them. Managers must have refined knowledge in warehousing and the value of storage. The government must set up special purpose vehicles for developing warehouses and skill development schemes for personnel for orderly growth of warehousing industry.

NR Nagarajan


Published on May 21, 2021

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