Functioning of modern-day Customs is too diverse: Official

Puducherry, Nov 18 (PTI) The functioning of modern-dayCustoms is too diverse and there is a need for a new approachtowards combating terrorism, cross-border fraud, money-laundering, smuggling of narcotics, drugs and antiques, amongothers, an official said on Monday.

Inaugurating the 29th Regional Contact Points (RCP)meeting of Asia Pacific region of the World CustomsOrganisation (WCO) here, member (Customs) of the Central Boardof Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) Raj Kumar Barthwal said,'The functions of modern Customs are too diverse.' Elaborating on it, he said the functions span fromrevenue collection, implementation of allied laws,interdiction of prohibited goods from entry or exit,protection of cultural heritage and intellectual propertyrights to implementation of Free Trade Agreements and TradeFacilitation Agreement.

He said globalisation, increased foreign investmentsand better opportunities internationally push the nation`sCustoms administration towards faster and simplifiedprocedures without compromising on safety and securityaspects.

Barthwal said that on assumption of India as thevice-chair for the Asia-Pacific,'we drew broad contours for aharmonised approach for Customs administration and put inplace four strategic guiding principles.' These principles were greater communication andconnectivity within the region, harnessing of technologicaladvancement, inclusive approach and consensus on core issues,he said.

The official further said,'We need to renew ourefforts to ensure an environment to handle economic slowdown.' He said the Customs have been witnessing increasingrisks associated with terrorism, smuggling, commercial frauds.

In this context, he said, non-intrusive inspectiontechnology coupled with block chain, artificial intelligenceand data analytics assumed significance in detecting illegaltrade and ensuring effective environment.

Barthwal said there was a need to develop innovativeapproaches to combat terrorism, cross-border fraud, illicitfinancing and money-laundering, smuggling of narcotics, drugs,antiques and cultural artefacts.

Later, he told newsmen that WCO was the only inter-governmental international organisation engaged in setting upand implementation of principles and standards for cross-border procedures and customs.

Speaking at the three-day meet, Takashi Sato of WCO-Brussels mentioned the progress being made in organisation onvarious issues such as capacity-building, trade facilitation,compliance and enforcement activities.

Chief Commissioner of Customs Chennai Ajit Kumar andjoint Secretary Customs (CBIC) L Satya Srinivas were amongthose present. PTI CORNVG NVG