This refers the editorial “Self-defeating act” (June 26). I completely agree with you that delaying clearance of imported goods of Chinese origin at the ports and airports in India is self defeating. But I disagree that it is being done by customs. You have said, "customs officials are stalling clearance". You have also said that there are no written or verbal instructions from the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) to delay clearance. No written instruction is there all right. But verbal instructions are surely there. As a retired and veteran customs official, I can definitely say that such delay in all ports and airports at the same time could not have been caused without verbal instruction from the ministry. Even the CBIC would not do it. This is too serious a matter and a matter of policy which the CBIC would not decide. The CBIC is not the government. The Ministry of Finance is the government. Only the finance minister along with the revenue secretary and finance secretary are the government for this purpose.
The government’s decision to delay the clearance is wholly and clearly wrong. China imports $15 billion worth of goods from India each year and that too raw materials like iron ore. But India imports $75 billion worth of goods from China. Pharmaceuticals, electronics, parts of all kinds needed for manufacture in India are imported from China. One example of thsi is paracetamol. A whopping 75 per cent of India’s demand is imported from China. Chinese imports are cheap and quality is also good. So your conclusion is correct that bureaucratic delay is self defeating. But if you blame customs for this, then you are barking up the wrong tree.
Sukumar Mukhopadhyayvia email
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