CBIC Targets 50th Position on Ease of Doing Business Rank

What an amazing week it has been! As per World Bank's ranking on Ease of Doing Business released on 31st October, 2018, India's overall ranking has jumped from 100 to 77, making India among the top 10 improvers this year. CBIC's sustained commitment and efforts towards Trade facilitation has helped in India's huge leap from 146th Rank to 8oth Rank in Trading Across Borders. Each one of you in the entire CBIC fraternity as well as all stakeholders deserve huge round of applause on this stupendous feat.

As communicated to you all yesterday, the improved performance in this World Bank survey also reflects positively on our collective engagement with all the stakeholders. I would urge all of you to participate with renewed zeal in this transformative exercise to enable the country reach the top so.

On the GST front, it has been our constant endeavor to empower, facilitate and assist our taxpayers, especially those belonging to small and medium sector, to reduce compliance burden on them. The GST Council, in this context, has also constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) for MSMEs. CBIC, along with other stakeholders, has thus an important role to play in the countrywide effort on MSME SUPPORT & OUTREACH launched by the Hon'ble Prime Minister, today. All nodal officers of CBIC have already reached out to this sector across 8o MSME Cluster locations in India to provide a conducive environment for their growth. I am confident that all our Zonal Chief Commissioners shall take this opportunity to scale up the facilitation measures for the benefit of the MSME sector. Needless to say, the issues/ grievances raised by the MSMEs have to be expeditiously resolved by the Nodal Officers in charge and, where needed, escalated/ communicated to the Feedback Action Room set up by DG,GST.

It was heartening to know that online integrity pledge was taken in large numbers by officers as well as by other stakeholders during the ongoing Vigilance Awareness Week. A documentary film showcasing, inter alia, CBIC's preventive vigilance initiatives such as SWIFT, E-sealing, E-Sanchit and other digitization efforts in Customs etc. was played at an event organized by the Central Vigilance Commission at New Delhi on 31st October, 2018, before the Hon'ble President of India as Chief Guest. In addition, this year DG, Vigilance has instituted the Annual Bharat Ratna Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Lecture Series on Vigilance, the inaugural lecture being the one given by the undersigned on 1st November, 2018. As a novel initiative, ADG (Vigilance) South Zonal Unit interacted with stakeholders through AIR/DD during the week. Vigilance awareness propagated by our offices and innovative steps taken in this regard will, I am sure, go a long way in promoting fairness, transparency, probity and accountability.

This week, we bid adieu to two officers of the department, Shri Wilson L. Hangshing, Chief Commissioner, CGST Shillong Zone who superannuated in the month of October 2018, and Shri S. N. Saha, Chief Commissioner, Kolkata Customs Zone, who joined the Settlement Commission at New Delhi. On behalf of all the officers and staff of the departn1ent, I wish these officers and their families the very best in all future endeavors.

The joyous festival of lights, Diwali, is around the corner, and I wish new dreams, fresh hopes and all success to each one of you.