The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in major setbacks in several quarters of the country – the lockdown and economic slump have affected various businesses. However, Vishakhapatnam Customs & Central Tax Zone has continued on its way to the progress; it collected Rs 64,827.42 crores revenue in 202-21, an increase of 29.52%. This growth has been possible with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies
Naresh Penumaka, Principal Chief Commissioner of Customs & Central Tax, Visakhapatnam Zone (Andhra Pradesh) said the buoyancy in revenue collections was mainly on account of Central Excise duties which stood at Rs.21,619.24 Crores in 2020-21 an increase of over 19.58% than the previous year. Customs collections stood at Rs.28,209.67 Crores for the year 2020-21, which is an increase of 13.33%.
In order to provide liquidity to the taxpayers and exporters, special refund drives were launched at regular intervals to clear the pending refund and drawback claims.
On the GST front, out of a total of 2,569 refund claims filed involving an amount of Rs.2, 142.55 Crores, the Zone has processed 2,421 claims (94.2 1%) involving amounts of Rs. 1,851.69 Cores (86.42%). On the customs side, a total of Rs. 1127.24 Crores were sanctioned towards export-related IGST refund and Rs.999. 10 crores were sanctioned towards Drawback during the year 2020-21.
Penumaka also said that the Vizag Zone detected an amount of Rs. 1929.11 Crores through the use of data analyzed using AI with Blockchain technology.
Specialized tools developed by GSTN Directorate of Systems along with data forwarded by Director General of Analytics and Risk Management (DGARM) were used to effect the recoveries. The Zone is closely monitoring the E-invoice data and correlating the same with the GST Returns filed.
The Zone also registered 127 cases involving an amount of Rs. 2 13. 34 crores and recovered an amount of Rs.60 crores. In a special drive against persons indulging in fake invoice cases under the GST regime, a total of 36 cases were registered involving an amount of Rs.65.38 Crores and one person was arrested.
The technologies are also helping the Zone to keep a close watch on all cases of alleged evasion reported by the public on the Central Public Grievance Reporting and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS).
Visakhapatnam Customs and CGST Zone has actively facilitated trade and Business in the “Ease of Doing Business”. Even at the peak of the COVID- 19 pandemic, despite losing officers to the dreaded virus, and many being adversely affected by the infection, yet it was ensured that all the Customs formations at Visakhapatnam, Kakinada and Krishnapatnam Ports were operational 24 x 7.
Penumaka said, the Zone is using technologies in multiple other ways – it’s monitoring the e-invoice data and matching it with the GST returns filed to see if there are any discrepancies. Through this approach, the Zone detected and registered 127 cases involving Rs 213.34 crores.