File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) needs to fulfil a twin challenge of robust detection to avoid tax evasion as well as facilitation of trade.
"The customs department has an important twin role to play. You have to have detection machinery in place so as to ensure that tax evasion does not take place, and at the same time be a trade facilitator which makes entry into borders easy," Jaitley said while speaking at the Investiture Ceremony and International Customs Day 2018 here.
He further noted that there has been a rationalisation of both domestic and international customs tariffs, along with an increase in the availability of many goods within India itself, through the 'Make in India' initiative.
"The nature and role of the customs department has changed in the recent times. While sharp detection remains a necessity, facilitation of trade is also important. The more you facilitate trade, there will be further scope for cost-cutting," he added.
Shedding light on the changing economy in the recent past, Jaitley said that the introduction of technological advancements has made a huge impact on revenue department, and has changed the nature of taxation and expansion of the income tax base.
He further urged greater attention to improving India's global ranking by focusing on greater efficiency.
"There are three main areas of focus to improve our global ranking. While cross-border trade remains a key area, the other two are regarding municipal permissions of land and buildings and contract enforcement. If we hit the bull's eye on these, we can significantly improve our ranking and move closer to the Prime Minister's vision of being in the top 50. We are working with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to improve efficiency in these segments," he said.
On the occasion, Jaitley also launched two IT tools- ICETAB and ICETRAK- for effective communication between trade and the Department of Customs and Central Excise.