NEW DELHI: The Department of Revenue has written to the Home Secretary urging to include “Customs offices” in the list of Central government offices exempted from closure.
Referring to the order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday evening after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a nationwide shutdown for 21 days to arrest the spread of Covid-19, the Department of Revenue has written that the list of Central government offices exempted from closure does not include Customs Offices.
The Revenue Department, in a letter shot off on Tuesday, has written to the Home Secretary that uninterrupted operations of Customs offices is imperative for smooth export and import of goods including and also for unhindered supply of essential goods and services.
“I am directed to refer to the order of the Ministry of Home Affairs dated March 24 under Section 10 (2) (1) of the Disaster Management Act and to state while the guidelines issued under the said section exempt certain offices of the Central government from closure they do not exempt customs offices”, reads the letter accessed by ET.
The Joint Secretary, Department of Revenue, has further written “I would like to bring to your notice that continued operations of Customs formations is essential from the viewpoint of preventing any disruption in export and import of goods including those required for maintaining continued supply of essential goods and services within the country”.
Therefore, the letter adds, “I would request you to add “Customs” in the exceptions under paragraph I of the guidelines referred to above.
The letter dated March 24 adds “During the period the above referred guidelines remain in force, most of the citizens will be accessing public services online and these online services like those related to income tax, customs, Goods and Services Tax etc shall have to be maintained during this period”.
The letter further says “While National Informatics Centre has been mentioned in the abovementioned guidelines, it is suggested that “and data centres related to delivery of public services” be added in paragraph I of the guidelines along with National Information Centre”.
The paragraph I of the guidelines issued by the Ministry Of Home Affairs on Wednesday mentioned the list of offices of Central government, public corporations shall remain closed. The offices exempted from closure include “Defence, Central armed police forces, treasury, public utilities (including petroleum, CNG, LPG, PNG) disaster management, power generation and transmission units, post offices, National Informatics Centre, Early Warning agencies.