Leg-up For Tourism Sector As CBCE Revives Carnet Scheme

New Delhi, Aug 29: | Updated: Aug 30 2003, 05:30am hrs
International tourists visiting the country will find it easier to bring in their vehicles without payment of customs duty under carnet-de-passage. The revenue department has asked its field formations to give hassle-free clearance to carnet vehicles.

Although the facility has been under operation since 1976, very few vehicles have entered the country under the scheme so far. Talking to FE, an official of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) said, cars under the carnet-de-passage route are imported for a fixed time frame and cannot be commercially traded. These have a niche application, and are used by tourists visiting the country. There are very few cars which are imported under this category. Some tourists and individuals, use this route for importing luxurious buses replete with various features/gadgets.

The problems pertaining to entry of such vehicles have been also raised by the Federation of Indian Automobile Associations (FIAA) with the Central Board of Customs and Excise (CBCE) recently. These problems mainly relate to cases of harassment and delays in the clearance of carnet vehicles and also the alleged indiscriminate issuing of demand notices on missing vehicles.

In a bid to remove hardships being faced by tourists, the CBCE has directed its field formations, that passengers availing of the carnet facilities for their motor vehicles, may be treated with proper respect and courtesy and customs clearance should be effected expeditiously. According to the CBCE directive, demand notices issued in cases of motor vehicles not figuring in the export records of the Indian customs, may not be confirmed in a routine manner.

The CBCE also asked the field formations that in cases of demand notices being issued, the FIAA should also be served with a copy of the notice and efforts may be made to elicit their response before the demand is confirmed.

It has been pointed out that in some cases, vehicles had already exited from the country, though the same information had not been passed to the customs formation through which the vehicles had entered the country. This is mainly because of lack of coordination among the customs formations.

As per the scheme, vehicles can be temporarily imported a for six months without payment of customs duty against a valid carnet-de-passage issued by a member of an automobile club or association belonging to the Federation of Alliance Internationale De Tourisme. This period can be further extended for another six months.