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Tuesday,26-January-2021

Business

CBIC launches Turant Customs for faceless clearance of imported goods

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Tax

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) on Monday launched its flagship programme, Turant Customs, at Bengaluru and at Chennai, paving the way for technology-supported faster Customs clearance of imported goods.

Under the programme, importers could now get their goods cleared from Customs after a faceless assessment done remotely by the Customs officers located outside the port of import. So, the goods imported at Chennai may be assessed by the Customs officers located at Bengaluru and vice versa, as assigned by the Customs’ automated system.

The start of Turant Customs at Bengaluru and at Chennai would be the first phase of the All India roll out which would get completed by December 31 this year.

The first phase would cover imports of mechanical, electrical and electronics machineries at the ports/airports/ICDs of Bengaluru and Chennai.

CBIC said that Turant Customs would benefit the importers by eliminating routine interface with the Customs officers and providing uniformity in assessment across the country. This would reduce transaction costs and eliminate the practice of port shopping for favourable assessments.

Under the umbrella of Turant Customs, the CBIC promises the trade a faceless, contactless and paperless Customs clearance experience. While the assessment of Customs duty would be faceless, i.e., it would be done anonymously and remotely, critical steps in the process have been made contactless and paperless, CBIC said in a statement.

The indirect tax board also said that these steps include self-registration of goods on the system by importers, automated clearances of bills of entry, digitization of bill of entry, paperless processing by uploading documents on the electronic e-Sanchit platform, etc. Also, all communications between importers and Customs officers would be done electronically through the ICEGATE portal.

The launch of Turant Customs marks the culmination of a long pilot phase started in August 2019 at Chennai and later extended to Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, and Visakhapatnam Customs Zones for select commodities.

Turant Customs is a mega reform for the ease of doing business. It is a continuation of the reform journey that CBIC embarked on few years back, resulting in India’s ranking in the World Banks’ Trading Across Border category of the Doing Business Report improving rapidly from position at 146 in 2017 to 68 last year, the statement said.

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Business

Bullet Train Project: Tender for undersea tunnel yet to be floated

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Bullet-Train

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) is yet to float the tenders for the undersea tunnel for Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet train project. Seven Indian companies have shown interest for the construction of the underground station at BKC, Mumbai in the pre-bidding stage, officials said on Monday.

A NHSRCL official told IANS, “The tenders for the undersea tunnel is yet to be floated.”

The bullet train project will have a 21-km long underground corridor from BKC to Kalyan Shilphata in the state of Maharashtra, of which around 7 km will be underground corridor under the Thane creek. Of this, a 1.8 km long section will be developed under the sea bed, while the remaining part of the stretch is to be built under the mangroves marshland on either side of the creek.

The official said that for the tunnelling work, which includes testing as well as commissioning for double-line high speed railway for the project using tunnel boring machine (TBM) and a new Austrian tunnelling method (NATM) is yet to be floated.

A geo-technical investigation of the undersea tunnel area was carried out earlier by a team of engineers from NHSRCL, RITES and Japan’s Kawasaki Geological Engineering firm.

In order to study the sea bed structure, a static refraction technique (SRT) survey was carried out by the team, which involved firing a high energy sound wave towards the seabed from below the water surface as well as mapping the refracted sound wave in order to determine the density of the rock under the sea bed. The team had also submitted the final report with the NHSRCL.

The official further said seven Indian companies had participated in the pre-bid meeting for constructing the underground station at BKC.

The official said that the tender for the construction of the underground station at BKC has been floated and bids are invited till February 19, 2021.

The official said that the C1 tender for construction of the underground station, NIT was issued on November 20, 2019.

Last year, the NHSRCL awarded civil contracts for the construction of 64 per cent of MAHSR alignment which includes five HSR stations at Vapi, Billimora, Surat, Bharuch, Anand/Nadiad, train depot at Surat and one mountain tunnel of 350 metres.

The bullet trains are expected to run at 320 km per hour, covering the 508-km stretch in about two hours. Trains plying on the route take over seven hours and planes about an hour.

Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on September 14, 2017 had laid the foundation stone for the Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion) HSR project.

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Business

Sensex sheds gains amid volatile trade

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Bombay-Stock-Exchange

The key Indian equity indices pared initial gains on Monday morning and traded on a negative note.

Selling pressure was witnessed in oil and gas, energy and auto stocks. Buying in banking and finance stocks, however, curbed the losses.

Around 10 a.m., Sensex was trading at 48,791.59, lower by 86.95 points or 0.18 per cent from its previous close of 48,878.54.

It opened at 49,253.68 and has so far touched an intra-day high of 49,263.15 and a low of 48,512.02 points.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 14,334.95, lower by 36.95 points or 0.26 per cent from its previous close.

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Business

Fuel prices rise hold for 2nd consecutive day

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Petrol

Petrol and diesel prices remain unchanged on Monday after reaching new all-time high levels as oil marketing companies decided to take a pause, and wait and watch the situation before taking a call on further revision of auto fuel prices to bridge the widening under recovery.

Accordingly, the pump price of petrol remained at Rs 85.70 a litre in Delhi while diesel prices in the capital was unchanged at Rs 75.88 a litre.

Across the country as well the fuel prices maintained the same price line. So, petrol is priced at Rs 92.28 a litre in Mumbai, Rs 88.29 a litre in Chennai and Rs 87.11 a litre in Kolkata.

Diesel on the other hand continues to be priced at Rs 82.66 a litre in Mumbai, Rs 81.14 a litre in Chennai and Rs 79.48 a litre in Kolkata.

The decision of holding the fuel prices came on a day when global crude prices showed some signs of softening declining by less than one per cent to close to $ 55 a barrel. Crude prices have remained firm for the last few weeks in the wake of unilateral production cuts announced by Saudi Arabia and a pick up in consumption in all major economies globally.

The petrol and diesel prices have increased eight times in January with the two auto fuels increasing by Rs 1.99 and Rs 2.01 per litre respectively this month.

The last few increases in the pump prices in petrol and diesel has taken its price to record levels across the country in all major metro cities and other towns. The last time the retail price of auto fuels were closer to current levels was on October 4, 2018 when crude prices had shot up up $ 80 a barrel.

The current price rise is largely on account of steep increase in Central taxes of petrol and diesel and firm crude prices.

Petrol price was very close to breaching the all-time high level of Rs 84 a litre (reached on October 4, 2018) when it touched Rs 83.71 a litre on December 7, 2020. But the march had been halted ever since then with no price revision by the OMCs in the month. The price rise started again only on January 6.

Oil companies executives said that petrol and diesel prices may increase further in the coming days as retail prices may have to be balanced in line with the global developments to prevent OMCs from making losses on sale of auto fuels.

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