The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has made it mandatory for all airlines to transfer the international passenger information they collect in the normal course of business operations to the designated customs authorities. The move is intended to check cross-border economic offences and other crimes.
According to the Passenger Name Record Information Regulations, 2022, (PNR Regulations), dated August 8, the information to be shared include name of the passenger, billing information (credit card number), date of issue of ticket, dates of intended travel, names of other travellers in the same PNR, travel itinerary for the PNR as well as contact details like email ID, mobile number, details of travel agency, baggage information and code share information (when one airline sells seats on another air carrier’s flight).
Every aircraft operator is required to transfer passenger information not later than 24 hours before the departure time or at the departure time. For each act of non-compliance to these regulations, the aircraft operators would have to pay a penalty of a minimum of Rs 25,000 and a maximum of Rs 50,000.
The PNR Regulations aim to receive and process passenger name record information along with any other information relevant for risk analysis of passengers to the National Customs Targeting Centre-Passenger for (a) the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of offences under the Customs Act and the rules and regulations made there under, or (b) the law enforcement agencies or government departments of India or any other country may specify for regulation, it said.
“The regulations would be an effective tool in curbing cross-border crimes. At the same time, the said Regulations would help keep a track record of every passenger travelling to and from India, which would further help in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of offences under the Customs Act,” said Tanushree, Roy, director- Indirect Tax, Nangia Andersen India.
Zhengshen Ou and Zhang Jie, directors of GPICPL, a firm associated with mobile maker Vivo, fled from India last year after the Enforcement Directorate intensified its inquiry into the money-laundering case against the Chinese firm.
To address likely privacy concerns, the CBIC notification said: “Processing of passenger name record information revealing a person’s race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, health, sexual life or sexual orientation shall not be permitted.”