Address by Governor at the International Customs Day Celebrations
Address by Shri CH. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the International Customs Day Celebrations organized by the Chief Commissioner of Customs, Zone – 1 at Y.B.Chavan Auditorium, Mumbai 400021 at 1100 hrs on 25th January 2019
Shri Banibrata Bhattacharya, Chief Commissioner, Mumbai Customs, Zone I, Shri Himanshu Gupta, Chief Commissioner Zone III, Miss Prachi Saroop, Commissioner of Customs (General), Mumbai Zone I, Shri Vijay Singh Chauhan, Additional Director General (Vigilance), Shri Prashant Deshpande, Partner, Deloitte, Dr Pramod Sant, Vice President, Head of Import, Export and Customs, Siemens Ltd, captains of trade and industry, officers and staff of Customs and GST, distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen,
This is the third time I am attending the International Customs Day celebrations since taking charge as Governor and I am really happy to be back, in your midst, to share your joy on this day.
I extend my heartiest congratulations and felicitations to each one of you on this day.
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 organs of the Government contributing to the state exchequer. That explains the important role each one of you play in the nation building effort.
I have come once again to tell you all, that the Nation is proud of you for your silent contributions and services to the nation.
It is heartening to note that Customs Department under the aegis of the World Customs Organization has dedicated the year 2019 to the swift and smooth cross-border movement of goods, people and means of transport, with the slogan “SMART borders for seamless Trade, Travel and Transport.”
I was pleased to note that India is Vice Chair or the regional head of the Asia Pacific region of the World Customs organisation for two years from July 2018 to June 2020. I was also pleased to note that India had the privilege of hosting the 80th Policy Commission Meeting in Mumbai in December 2018. I congratulate the Department for organising such an important inter-governmental meeting of World Customs Organisation in the country.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has set an ambitious target of India breaking into top 50 nations on the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking. He has also spoken of doubling the size of country’s economy to US dollars 5 trillion as early as possible.
In this connection, I wish to congratulate the Mumbai Customs for being on the forefront of Ease of Doing Business. According to the World Bank’s ranking released on 31st October 2018, India’s overall ranking has jumped from 100 to 77, making India one of the top 10 improvers this year.
The Indian Customs’ sustained commitment and efforts towards trade facilitation have helped in India’s huge leap from 146th rank to 80th rank in Trading Across Borders.
The Mumbai Customs fraternity as well as all stakeholders deserve our wholehearted compliments for this brilliant achievement.
Let us strive to further improve our country’s ranking on Ease of Doing Business among the top 50 as envisioned by the Hon’ble Prime Minister.
Sisters and brothers,
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.
Many of you work under challenging conditions. Some of the officers have become great legends because of their bravery and commitment in fighting against smugglers.
This occasion provides us an opportunity to salute and remember the contribution of all past and serving officers who put the nation first while discharging their duty.
The trade and passenger volumes at Mumbai Port / Nhava Sheva Port and international airport have increased substantially over the years. Recently, there was news of India’s largest container port, JNPT, making its way to the top 30 container ports across the world.
Last week, I attended the Global Aviation Summit in Mumbai. Let me share with you that the International Civil Aviation Organization has predicted a 100 percent increase in global air travel by the year 2030. In the next two decades, air passenger traffic in India will grow to 1.12 billion passengers per year from the current 187 million passengers.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As Governor of Maharashtra, I often receive Heads of State, Heads of Government, Parliamentary Delegations from various countries, Provincial Governors and Ambassadors visiting Mumbai. There is a general consensus that democracy in India makes our country more business-friendly and reliable destination than other major economies in Asia. Many countries are keen to start direct flight and cargo services between Mumbai and important cities of the world to facilitate trade and commerce.
Needless to say, all departments of the government including the Customs will be called upon to rise to the occasion and handle the increased workload.
The primary functions of Customs include levy and collection of customs duties, prevention of smuggling, combating tax evasion and enforcement of border controls. I have one expectation from the Customs officers. I do feel that officers of Customs must inspire a feeling of confidence, trust and business friendliness.
Those in uniform must spend at least one day in a week to practice drill and marching, to present themselves as members of a disciplined force. Physical fitness of the force is as important as mental toughness.
The Customs department must have regular interface with the general public. One way of achieving this goal is to create a Customs Museum in Mumbai. Your organisation has had a long and distinguished history. This history must be brought before the common people. It will enhance the understanding and appreciation of people towards Customs.
With these words, I congratulate CBIC (Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs) and Mumbai Customs for their excellent work and achievements and wish you all continued success in your nation building endeavours.
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !!