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Customs smiles as revenue mop-up jumps on weakening rupee
September, 16th 2013

At least one arm of the North Block is a happy lot amid the falling rupee and is looking at it as a blessing in disguise, as the customs department is witnessing a near double-digit uptick in revenue collection.

The good news is that as the value of imported goods goes up, there is a corresponding increase in custom department’s revenues as well, said Sheila Sangwan, member and special secretary, Central Board of Excise and Customs. Due to the impending gains, the department is confident of achieving its targets 2013-14, the official added.

Exchange rate fluctuations have worked to our advantage because the values have gone up,” said Sangwan. “There is an 8% increase in values. Automatically there is an uptick in the amount of taxes we were collecting (as) the valuation changes.”

Sangwan is also confident that the department will meet its share in indirect tax collection this fiscal.

The container port of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), the largest contributor to the customs kitty, has witnessed a 10.4% growth so far in 2013-14. The customs at the city airport, among the biggest of the air terminals from a revenue collection standpoint, is also doing well, she said.

On whether the government’s recent moves to squeeze imports to reduce dollar demand will hit revenue collection, Sangwan said the department has many more avenues to earn revenues apart from duty on gold and silver.

She, however, sounded a note of caution on achieving the overall indirect tax collection growth target of 19% to Rs. 5.7 lakh crore in 2013-14, acknowledging that growth has not been on course during the first few months.

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