New Delhi, May 12 | Artificial intelligence and data analytics are playing a pivotal role in targeting instances of smuggling which have significantly helped in dealing with the growing menace of illicit trade, said Vivek Johri, Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.
Johri was speaking at a virtual event organized by industry body FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) on Thursday.
“At CBIC, we are going aggressively against illicit trade in these goods. In 2021-22, we seized 92,000 kg of narcotics worth Rs 17,400 crore, during this period, we also seized 14 crore cigarette sticks,” Johri said, adding that gold, narcotics, and cigarettes are highly prone to outright smuggling.
Johri also shared that unscrupulous players indulging in illicit activities misuse free trade agreements, export promotion schemes, and misuse end user-based exemptions.
“CBIC is trying to overcome these challenges in a systematic way, and have ramped up the use of technology in their operations with 22 cargo scanners at 16 locations to ensure 100 per cent scanning of all containers coming into the country through gateway ports,” Johri said at the event.
Smuggling and illicit trade is increasingly hurting the Indian economy and has crept into multiple sections of the society.
“Immediate steps are required, both in the form of policy intervention and awareness generation, to address this growing menace,” said Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE.
Complimenting the GST Council and CBIC for a well-balanced tax policy and maintaining equal thrust on revenue augmentation and strict handling of tax evaders, Rajput highlighted how it has led to effective compliance and record-breaking revenue collections.
To put things into context, the monthly collection under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has touched a record high of Rs 1.68 lakh crore in April 2022. The gross GST collection has crossed the Rs 1.5 lakh crore-mark for the first time in April 2022 and Rs 1 lakh crore-mark for the tenth month in a row.
“We can already see some green shoots and are hopeful that going forward collaborative efforts between government agencies and industries would bring fruitful results for the country,” Rajput added.