Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs
North Block, New Delhi-110001
Tel. No. +91-11-23092849, Fax : +91-11-23092890
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 14th June 2021
The 44th GST Council Meeting was held on 12th June, 2021 with a single agenda point to discuss the report of the Group of Ministers for GST concessions on Covid-relief items. The Council recommended reducing GST rates on specified items being used for Covid-19 relief and management till 30th September, 2021. The items include medicines, oxygen generation equipment and related medical devices, testing kits and machines, etc. The notifications in this regard will be issued shortly. This follows from the decisions of the recent 43rd GST Council Meeting held on 28th May, 2021, which apart from extending numerous Covid-19 relief, also extended relief to taxpayers through various trade facilitation measures.
Further, to follow up on the decisions of the 43rd GST Council Meeting, the Board had a meeting with the Pr. Chief Commrs./Chief Commrs. of CGST Zones through Video Conference. The primary focus was on trade facilitation during these very challenging times. It is not only important to make changes in law and procedure, its equally important to ensure that the benefits are widely publicised and thereby availed by taxpayers. We need to handhold taxpayers and clear their doubts regarding beneficial measures such as those related to annual returns; amnesty scheme to provide relief to taxpayers regarding late fee for pending returns; rationalization of late fee imposed under Section 47 of the CGST Act; retrospective amendment to Section 50 of the CGST Act to provide interest payment on net cash basis; Covid relief measures, etc. Some other recent trade facilitation measures such as those relating to refunds; relaxation in provisions of blocking e-Way bills: facilities on portal for easing the process of filing returns; prompt revocation of cancellation of registrations and measures relating to e-invoicing, to name a few, were also discussed. Our outreach measures need to be enhanced since a better informed taxpayer can be expected to be a more compliant one.
The Zonal Chiefs made some very insightful and constructive suggestions and also apprised all present in the meeting about the best practices adopted by them. This has ensured that a majority of taxpayers do not default on statutory time lines thereby facilitating their smooth and continuous functioning even during the difficult period of lock downs. I am sure that all Pr. Chief Commrs./Chief Commrs. and Pr. Commrs/Commrs would set up a core team and guide them to undertake focused outreach programmes. This would boost taxpayer confidence and help them take advantage of available benefits while at the same time avoiding procedural defaults that would add to their costs.
On the anti-smuggling front, in an intelligence based action on 04th-05rh June, 2021, Customs officers at T-3, IGI Airport, New Delhi prevented smuggling of 19.480 Kgs of a black coloured and thick liquid, suspected to be Heroin, in different types of Shampoo/Hair colouring bottles.
The officers of Customs Division, Aizawl, under the Commissionerate of Customs (Preventive) NER, Shillong, prevented two illicit attempts at trafficking weapons and drugs along the Indo-Mvanmar border. On 05th June, 2021, acting on the basis of specific infoimation, the officers of Land Customs Station. Zokhawthar, recovered 410 Gins of brown coloured powder, suspected to be Heroin, at Balukai, on the bank of river Tia.u, at Zokhawthar, Champhai district, Mizoram. In another case on 07th June, 2021, officers of Customs Preventive Force – Champhai recovered one AK 56 series rifle (along with 3 empty magazines), one 9 MM pistol (along with its empty magazine) and 3610 red coloured tablets suspected to be methamphetamine, at Zote, on the bank of river Tiau, Zote, Champhai district, Mizoram. Both the operations were done jointly with the 8th Assam Rifles.
My congratulations to the officers concerned for preventing these illicit activities and standing tall in the fight against the menace of narcotics and psychotropic substances.
DGHRD, on 7th June, 2021, has informed all Zones and Directorates about the proposed publication of a booklet ‘Shradhanjali ‘ in homage to the memory of officials and staff under CBIC who have succumbed to Covid-19. The team of officers at DGHRD, Zonal Chiefs and Nodal Officers in each Zone must strive to complete the task of collecting and submitting the requisite information in a time-bound manner by the 15th of this month. Ahmedabad CGST Zone had subsequently shared a sensitively done ‘Memory Book’ in the memory of all officers and staff of the zone lost to the pandemic. We hope that these small acts would perpetuate their memory and would bring some solace to the bereaved families.
On 09th June, 2021, I had vide D.0 No. InW/WF-1/Misc/6/2021-WLFR, written to all the Zonal Chiefs and the Heads of the Directorates regarding the instructions conveyed under Dept. of Pension & Pensioner’s Welfare (DoP&PW) OM No 1/11/2020-P&PW (E) dated 29th July, 2020 relating to sanction of provisional family pension and provisional death gratuity. It also contained two annexures of OM No. 1/11/2020-P&PW (E) dated 03rd June, 2021 of the DoP&PW, listing out entitlements of the family on death of a Government Servant during service both under the Old Pension Scheme and National Pension System. Earlier, in my D.0 letter No. 67/CH(IC)/2020 dated 10th May, 2021, I had emphasised the need for the department to take care of the families of the deceased officials, help them fill out claim forms and, where necessary, help them apply for compassionate appointments for a family member. I am sure that these letters would have reached you through your Zonal Chiefs. These letters will also be of great help to the families of deceased officials to enlighten them of their entitlements and must be made available to them.
The number of Covid-19 cases has slowly started declining and the lockdown in various regions is being relaxed in a graded manner. Business and economic activities have gradually started picking up. May this trend continue. Meanwhile, we need to remind ourselves not to lower our guard and to continue to follow covid appropriate behaviour.
I wish all of you and your families good health and cheer.
(M. Ajit Kumar)
All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Custom