CBIC and Mumbai Customs have contributed to improvement in India’s ranking in Trading Across Borders: Governor of Maharashtra

    Publish Date: January 25, 2019

    Posted On: 25 JAN 2019 4:44PM by PIB Mumbai.

    CBIC and Mumbai Customs have contributed to improvement in India’s ranking in Trading Across Borders: Governor of Maharashtra.

    Need to make borders nothing more than lines on paper for legitimate travellers and businesses and as impregnable as Great Wall of China for illegitimate ones: Chief Commissioner, Mumbai Customs – Zone III.

    The Governor of Maharashtra, Ch. Vidyasagar Rao has said that customs officers in the country play a very critical role in the development of the nation. The challenges that the customs officers face in their day to day work have only increased over the years. Facilitating trade, simplifying, standardizing and harmonizing flows of people and material across border can be made simpler with the adoption of technology. He said this while addressing customs officers during the celebration of International Customs Day by Mumbai Customs in Mumbai today.

    The International Customs Day is observed on January 26 every year. The day is celebrated to mark the official inaugural session in 1953, of Customs Cooperation Council, which was renamed as World Customs Organization (WCO) in 1994. The body comprises 182 member countries. The theme for International Customs Day 2019 is “SMART borders for seamless Trade, Travel and Transport”, where SMART stands for Secure, Measurable, Automated, Risk Management-based and Technology-driven.

    The Governor appreciated the efforts made by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and Mumbai Customs in facilitating trade; he said that this has contributed to an improvement in India’s ranking in World Bank’s Trading across Borders index from 146 in 2017 to 80 in 2018. This has thereby helped India in improving its Ease of Doing Business ranking as well.

    Shri Subhash Agrawal, Commissioner of Customs, Mumbai Zone-II; Dr Satish Dhavale, Additional Director, Risk Management Centre for Customs, Directorate General of Analytics and Risk Management, Mumbai and Shri Satish Pattapu, Deputy Director, DRI Zonal Unit Mumbai were given Presidential Gold Medals for Meritorious Services at the hands of the Governor.

    Chief Commissioner, Mumbai Customs Zone – I, Shri Bani Bhattacharya said that the customs department keeps vigil at 231 locations across the country; highlighting the role of customs in facilitating movement of people and material, he said that more than 99% of travellers and cargo are able to go through borders without hindrances.

    Speaking on the occasion, Commissioner, Mumbai Customs Zone – I, Ms. Prachi Saroop said, “World Customs Day is a signature event that is celebrated by all customsadministrations across the world; customs department is fully committed to smooth conduct of legitimate cross-border economic activities.”Speaking of the theme of International Customs Day 2019, she said that WCO has dedicated the year 2019to the swift and smooth cross-border movement of goods, people and material.

    Ms. Saroop added that Mumbai Customs hopes to have a robust engagement with all stakeholders, to enhancesupply-chain security and efficiency, based onmutual trust and transparency. Rapidautomation and digitization of variousprocesses will be pursued vigorously. The department will also focus on ways and means to find a balancebetween costs and benefits, so as to address all risks. Finally, ‘technology-driven’ in SMART requires development of “smart track and tracetechnologies for cargo, containers andconveyances, to provide a safe, standardizedenvironment for economic activities”, stated the Commissioner.

    Chief Commissioner, Mumbai Customs- Zone III,Shri Himanshu Gupta said that “Customs department has to simultaneously cope with two mutually exclusive demands. On the one hand, enforcement has become increasingly complex with new regulations, new phyto-sanitary standards and increasing web of Free Trade Agreements. On the other, facilitation too has become challenging, due to globalized trade, competitive environment, Just-in-Time inventory and globalized supply chain. The changed dynamic requires that customs department has to be swift and efficient in meeting these challenges.”

    Hence, it is imperative that for travellers and legitimate businesses, customs department makes borders nothing more than a line on paper, while for illegitimate businesses, it makes borders as impregnable as the Great Wall of China. These twin challenges can be managed by integrating latest technologies like blockchain and Artificial Intelligence into the design and implementation of customs processes.

    Speaking on the occasion, Chartered Account and Industry representative Shri Prashant Deshpande said that “SWIFT system, the single window clearance scheme focused on reducing citizen-state interface, should be improved further by handling trade in administratively and procedurally facilitative manner which would fuel trade velocity. Risk-based management system is an initiative that mandates exception-based intervention. Rollout of e-wallet scheme should be expedited; it is a technology-driven initiative with the potential to reduce the adverse impact of cash flows which arise on account of pending IGST exemptions”.