Meeting set to review postal imports
The Finance Ministry is planning to convene an inter-ministerial meeting, in the wake of concerns expressed by the Prime Minister over public grievances that are received by the PMO, on issues related to the import of goods through the postal network and courier services.
Objective of the meeting:
The agenda of the meeting will be to undertake a holistic review of the recent surge in postal imports of consumer goods through e-commerce channel and the associated security issues that arise because of seizure of high-altitude drones, bullion and fake currency in such parcels.
It will also aim to address inadequacies in data capture, as at present there is a lack of availability of comprehensive figures on imports by post and courier that are facilitated by the e-commerce route.
While some data is captured through the manual mode, it is not as reliable as information compiled through the electronic mode.
To ensure corrective legal, procedural and infrastructural measures are implemented, the CBEC has sought suggestions on issues related to laws, procedures and infrastructure surrounding postal imports from other ministries and departments which include the Directorate General of Foreign Trade as well as the Department of Posts.
Related security issues:
Ahead of the meeting, the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) has already started the process of
- holistic review of norms covering imports and exports through post
- address these concerns and help in taking remedial actions
Measures taken to achieve these objectives by tightening security include, upgrading x-ray machines for non-intrusive scanning of mail parcels. This will have an impact on the procedures for clearance of goods imported through post.
Recent PayPal-Ipsos report:
Shoppers from India spent huge amounts while shopping online from international websites (mainly sites of U.S., Chinese and British firms).
- prolonged delivery time
- high customs duties and transactions in foreign currencies
But still websites with better sales were those that offer products,
- that are not available in India
- promise free delivery
- transactions in local currency
Involvement of all concerned stakeholders:
- Comments are sought from all concerned stakeholders which include e-commerce and courier firms
- Several measures covering imports and exports via post have already been proposed in the Finance Bill 2017
- These include amendments to the Customs Act which seek to empower the CBEC to notify Foreign Post Offices and International Courier Terminals to make regulations with respect to the goods imported or exported by post
- Besides, the Finance Bill 2017 also proposes amendments in the Customs Tariff Act, to cover goods imported through courier as well as personal imports
In the context of promotion of exports and imports via the e-commerce route the development assumes significance.