The Union Minister of Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways and Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal stressed out he simplification, transparency and use of latest technology in further easing and smoothening the tax filing process for the stakeholders. He said that it is necessary to make the compliance simpler for the honest taxpayers and ensure the best use of the money so collected through taxes for the benefit and welfare of the public at large. The Finance Minister, Shri Goyal was speaking at an event to mark the occasion of Investiture Ceremony and International Customs Day 2019 organized by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in New Delhi today. Shri Goyal further said that if all the stakeholders including the Government and the taxpayers work together in a straight and ethical manner, there is no reason why India as a nation cannot achieve the rightful place in Comity of Nations.
He suggested that it would be better if the Department like CBIC and CBDT take collective decisions by taking new ideas from its Officers to improve the efficiency and image of the concerned Department. It would also make it easier for the CBIC/CBDT to achieve the image of a tax-friendly organization. The Finance Minister said that the Department should be taxpayer friendly and they should have easy access to approach its officers for guidance and both the Department and the taxpayers should act as a partner to have better tax compliance and to improve the overall image of the organization.
Earlier the International Customs Day celebrations organized by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs were held in the Dr. Ambedkar International Centre on 25th January 2019. The Union Finance Minister, Shri Piyush Goyal was the Chief Guest and the Union Minister of State for Finance Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla was the Guest of Honour. Revenue Secretary Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, and Shri Pranab Kumar Das, Special Secretary to Government of India and Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), along with Members of Central of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, senior officers of the Department were present. Presidential Award of Appreciation Certificates and World Customs Organization (WCO) Certificates of Merit Award were also presented to the distinguished officers of the CBIC.
Shri Pranab Kumar Das, Chairman, CBIC, welcomed the dignitaries and highlighted recent Key Initiatives taken by Customs for enhancing trade facilitation in line with the Action Plan for implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the WTO ratified by India. The gathering was addressed by the Finance Minister Shri Piyush Goyal who congratulated retired and serving officers and staff of Indian Customs on the eve of International Customs Day being celebrated across the world with the theme of SMART borders for seamless Trade, Travel, and Transport. He said that as a result of efforts taken by CBIC, India’s rank in Trading Across Borders has jumped from 146 in 2018 to 80 in 2019. This has contributed significantly to India’s quantum jump in Ease of Doing Business rank from 130 in 2017 to 77 in 2019. The Finance Minister expressed confidence that with concerted efforts of the Department, India would further improve its position in these rankings. While congratulating the awardees for their meritorious service, he exhorted the officers to keep upgrading their skill sets to meet emerging challenges in cross-border trade. He further asked CBIC to try and get ideas from officers of all ranks through crowdsourcing for improving efficiency and productivity of the department.
The Minister of State for Finance, Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla, also addressed the audience about the role of Customs in securing the international borders and lauded the yeoman service rendered by Customs officers in every corner of the country. He said that Indian Customs has risen to the challenge of effectively manning land, sea, and air economic frontiers of the country with the objective of furthering legitimate trade across borders and deterring economic offenders. Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Revenue Secretary, and Shri P.K. Das, Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, also spoke about the thrust on enhancing trade facilitation and the role of other stakeholders including participating government agencies. Shri John Joseph, Member Budget and Investigation and Zonal Member, Delhi Customs Zone, presented the vote of thanks.
Presidential Award of Appreciation Certificate was awarded to 44 officers and staff of Indian Customs for “Specially Distinguished Record of Service.” These officers were selected on the basis of their exemplary performance in their respective field of service over the years. The awardees selected this year include officers from all cadres of the Service, who have consistently performed with distinction in their various assignments, including prevention of smuggling, detection of tax evasion, detection of trade-based money laundering and foreign exchange violations, besides contributions in tax policy formulation, revenue mobilization, and automation of business processes, and capacity building and training. The following officers received the Presidential commendation.