Published: 27th April 2021
Government exempts customs on food, medicines for charitable organisations amid COVID surge
The government has exempted custom duty on import of foodstuff, medicines, medical stores of perishable nature and blankets from charitable organisations
Amid a lot of international organisations coming forward to help India in the fight against COVID-19, the government has exempted customs duty of foodstuff and medicines and has detailed what all can be gifted to whom and who all can do so.
The government has exempted custom duty on import of foodstuff, medicines, medical stores of perishable nature and blankets from charitable organisations, Red Cross Society and US-based Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) and government itself.
"In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section A(1) of section 25 of the Customs Act, 1962, the Central government being satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest, do, hereby exempts goods of the description specified," the government stated.
For Red Cross Society, the government said, the goods imported to India for free gift from abroad or purchased out of donations received abroad in foreign exchange by it should be for free distribution to the poor and the needy without distinction of caste, creed or race.
The importer at the time of importation produces a certificate to the Assistant Commissioner of Customs from the state government concerned or from person or institution specified by the Central Board of Excise and Customs certifying that it is for the organisation engaged in relief work and in the distribution of the supplies to the poor and the needy without any distinction.
The government also stated that the orgainsation otherwise satisfies the Assistant Commissioner in this regard to the activities bona fides of the importing organisation, the areas of its operations; its financial sources; the status of the donor, the nature, value and quantity of the goods imported; the food and sartorial habits of the people amongst whom the imported goods are to be distributed; that the goods are bona fide gifts for free distribution to the poor and the needy without any distinction of caste.
The government has allowed woollen fabrics and woollen apparels received as gifts by the Indian Red Cross Society apart from drugs, medicines and medical types of equipment.
For CARE, the government stated that the importer at the time of import gives an undertaking that the gift commodities are meant for free distribution.
The importer, at the time of import, has to give an undertaking that the supplies and the equipment, when no longer required for the purposes for which they were imported, will be exported out of India and that the imported supplies and equipment are not meant for the personal use of the officers of CARE or its distributing organisation and, further, that any of the supplies or equipment shall not be passed on to the third party by way of sale or otherwise in contravention of the said agreement.
For goods imported into India for the purpose of relief and rehabilitation, the said goods should be imported in accordance with the terms of any agreement in force between the government of India and any foreign government providing for duty-free entry of such goods into India.
The goods so imported shall not be sold or otherwise disposed off in India except with the prior approval of, and on, fulfilment of such conditions as may be imposed, by the government in this regard.
For articles of food and edible material, the goods should be supplied as free gifts to the government of India either by the agencies approved by the United Nations organisations or by European Economic Community.