Address by Governor at International Customs Day Celebrations in Mumbai
Address by Shri CH. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the International Customs Day Celebrations organized by the Chief Commissioners of Customs, Zone -1 at Y.B.Chavan Auditorium, Mumbai 400021 at 1000 hrs on 27th January 2018
Shri Prakash Mehta, Hon’ble Minister for Housing, Government of Maharashtra, Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer, Commanding in Chief, Western Naval Command, Shri Rajeev Tandon, Chief Commissioner of Customs, Zone I, Shri APS Suri, Chief Commissioner Zone III, Shri Vivek Johri, Chief Commissioner, Zone II, Consuls from various countries, Smt. Zia Mody, Founder and MD, AZB & Partners, captains of trade and industry, officers and staff of Customs and GST, distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to join all of you in celebrating the International Customs Day and I extend my heartiest congratulations and felicitations to each one of you on this day.
I had attended the Customs Day celebrations 3 years ago and I am happy to be back in your midst to share your joy.
Mumbai is rightly regarded as the financial capital of India. The city is often described as the Engine of Growth of the nation’s economy. The Customs is one of the most important movers of the Engine. A large number of social and welfare schemes of the nation are run through the contributions of Customs to the State Exchequer.
I have come here to tell you that I am proud of you and India is proud of you for your silent contributions and services to the nation.
As all of you know, January 26th is celebrated as International Customs Day by the Customs Community.
It is heartening to note that Customs Department under the aegis of the World Customs Organization is celebrating International Customs Day today, dedicating the year 2018 to the security of the business environment, economic security and national integrity.
The theme of this year’s celebration, namely, “A secure business environment for economic development” reflects your commitment to create a conducive atmosphere for the growth of business.
Customs department deals with movements of goods, services & persons across borders. The main objective of the Customs is to promote the safety and security of the goods in the supply chain and ensure trade facilitation and revenue collection.
To its supreme credit, Indian Customs not just protects our economy; it also plays an important role in protecting environment, wildlife and heritage by checking smuggling and trafficking of endangered species of flora and fauna, art and antiques. Customs also plays its part in preventing the movement of fake Indian currency notes.
Not many people are aware of this important national work of Customs in so many diverse areas. I do feel that the International Customs Day should be used to reach out to the people of India, through audio-visual films, documentaries and commercials, to explain to the people your multifaceted work.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Customs functioning has linkages with trade, business and other agencies related with safety and security at both national and international level.
As the global economy is moving towards various free trade and duty-free preference partnerships and regional economic integration, the traditional role of customs is evolving.
The Customs Community globally is collaborating its effort for modernization of international trade and cross border regulatory procedures.
Countries have committed substantial resources to their programmes in the areas of simplification and rationalisation of customs procedures and automation of infrastructure.
I was pleased to note that the Customs Department has already taken various initiatives towards this end. The Chief Commissioner informs me that almost all import and export clearances are handled by Customs Department electronically using Risk Management Techniques and Post Clearance Audit.
It is gratifying to note that constant efforts are being made by the Department to facilitate trade, reduce dwell time and transaction cost for easing business. These are really welcome developments.
The Goods and Services Tax that has subsumed several former taxes and levies was introduced in India from 1st July 2017. I do hope that this transition to GST will be smooth and seamless in the Customs Department.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India has been calling upon global businesses to Invest in India and to Make in India. Towards this end, he has been pushing for reforms including improving the Ease of doing business.
At the recent meeting of World Economic Forum, the Hon’ble Prime Minister has spoken of making India a 5 Trillion dollar economy by 2025. He is serious about removing the Red Tape and laying Red Carpet for global investors.
Maharashtra is one of the most favoured state in India in terms of foreign and direct investment. The Government of Maharashtra is organising a Global Investors’ Summit ‘Convergence 2018’ next month, with a view to attract FDI and promote Make in India.
Needless to say, all departments of the government including the Customs will be called upon to rise to the occasion and further improve the ease of doing business.
I was going through a book ‘The Clash of Civilizations’ by Samuel Huntington. In his book, Huntington has observed that in the year 1750, India’s share in the global manufacturing output was 24.5 per cent. Long spell of foreign domination did tremendous harm to our economy. Thankfully, Indian economy is reckoned among the fastest growing economies in the world. I have no doubt in my mind that with sincere efforts from each one of us, India will reclaim its lost glory and emerge as a global leader in the manufacturing sector once again.
Ladies and gentlemen,
India has been targeted by terrorists – receiving overt and covert support from our enemy nations – on a number of occasions. The Custom’s role is very crucial in ensuring that contraband goods, like arms and ammunition, explosives, biological weapons, chemical weapons etc. do not enter the Indian Territory.
I understand that there are newer challenges before the Customs department such as disruptive technologies like 4-D printing that will make borders irrelevant. Exchange of information among various enforcement agencies and internal coordination must be strengthened.
I am sure the Customs department will continue its efforts in making Indian economy safe and secure while also creating a conducive business environment for the trade and industry.
I congratulate all the officers and staff of Customs and trade representatives who were felicitated today. I compliment all of you and wish you success in your nation building endeavours.
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !!