Customs Act celebrates 60 years of existence

Dec 7: The nation is celebrating completion of 60 years of Customs Act, 1962. As part of the nationwide celebrations, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) under Ministry of Finance held an event at New Custom House in Mumbai today (7 December, 2022). An exhibition on ’60 years of Customs and valuable items seized by Indian Customs over the years’ organized by Mumbai Customs was inaugurated by CBIC Chairperson Vivek Johri.

The Chief of Staff of Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, Mumbai Port Trust Chairman Rajeev Jalota and Mumbai’s Commissioner of Police Vivek Phansalkar were also present on the occasion, along with officers and staff of Mumbai Customs. The guests garlanded photo of Mumbai Customs official Bapu Laxman Lamkhade, the first Customs officer to be conferred the President’s Award in 1964, who was equally feared by smugglers and revered by officers of Customs.

Inaugurating the event, the CBIC Chairperson said that the Customs Act, 1962, is a well-written, simple and short law that has served us well. Further recounting journey and history of the Act, he said “Today’s celebration is about the Act which we live and swear by. The Act was an amalgamation of three different Acts which were in use prior to independence. Despite several amendments, which should be made to organic law, the fundamentals of the Act have been preserved, this is the beauty of the Act.”

Speaking about the adaptation of modern technology by Customs Department, the CBIC Chairperson said that Indian Customs was one of the first government departments to computerize processes. “Now our orientation is on how quickly we turn cargo, while exercising relevant controls. We have done 4 or 5 generations of computer reforms and our work processes are completely automated end-to-end. Almost 85% – 90% of our cargo is facilitated without any intervention by Customs. I keep telling our officers that our true test lies in the balance 10% – 15% – in carrying out the requisite checks while allowing cargo to move quickly”.

Throwing light on various facets of customs work, the CBIC Chairperson said: “While we have come a long way in facilitating cargo, and our focus on revenue collection has been overtaken by other priorities, preventive or anti-smuggling operations are still a very important part of border management and border control, in different locations of the country. The exhibition put up today beautifully showcases our work. Our methods have changed over the years. With the use of technology, our targeting is much sharper and profiling of passengers is better.”

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