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Measuring Trade Facilitation in India to ensure continuous improvement

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Meeting No: 2517 300 9210
Password: trade

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In this discussion the speaker will use the trigger presented by the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) to undertake a comprehensive review of various publicly available studies for India relating to performance measurement of the ecosystem that handles the cross-border movement of goods, focusing on the period since 2015.

About the Speakers

Vivek Johri

Shri Vivek Johri served as the Chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs and ex-officio Special Secretary to the Government of India from December, 2021 upto July, 2023.

This time was characterised by significant improvements in departmental processes and procedures especially in enhancing the Ease of Doing Business, such as improved adoption of intelligent non-intrusive technologies for reduced physical examination of goods; introduction of an Electronic Cash Ledger, deployment of an online Customs Broker License Management System (CBLMS) for greater transparency, Anonymised Escalation Mechanism (AEM) for better grievance redressal and rapid upgradation of the Central Revenues Control Laboratories. These initiatives contributed to a significant improvement in our cargo release times This period also witnessed a record growth in revenues especially on the GST side.

An officer of the 1985 batch of the Indian Revenue Service (Customs & Indirect Taxes), he has served in a number of roles encompassing the entire gamut of indirect tax administration, especially in policy formulation. In an illustrious career spanning more than 35 years, he held a number of charges including Member (Tax Policy), CBIC and Chief Commissioner, Customs at Nhava Sheva, the largest seaport in India. He also served as Minister (Customs) at the Permanent Mission of India, Geneva, where he made important contributions to the discussions in the WTO on a variety of issues including the trade facilitation agreement.

His tenure as Member (GST) saw many important changes carried out in GST law & procedure both for easing the compliance burden on taxpayers and tighter enforcement for tackling tax evasion. He also played an active role in laying the policy foundation for roll out of GST and was instrumental in drafting of the Constitution (115th amendment) Bill, 2010 which laid the foundation of GST in India. He was conferred the Best Probationer Award in his batch in 1987 and the Presidential Award for Meritorious Service in the year 2000. He holds a degree in Economics from the University of Delhi and an MBA from Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. He is married to Dr. Neerja Johri and they have two children. His interests include music, reading and painting.

Vijay Singh Chauhan

Vijay Singh Chauhan, an officer of Indian Revenue Service (Customs & Indirect Taxes) is currently transitioning from being a civil servant to being a student, researcher, teacher and more.

As trade facilitation expert, he led department’s trade facilitation initiatives at JNCH, ACC, Mumbai and ICD, Tughlakabad. At JNCH, he conceptualised the celebrated JNCH Time Release Study, which has evolved into National Time Release Study, which he has co-led since 2021. He also set up and functioned as the first Customs Authority for Advance Rulings in New Delhi.

His previous policy assignments in the Government of India cover fiscal policy and taxation matters. He was Under Secretary in Tax Research Unit of the Department of Revenue; Director (Budget) and Director (FIPB) in the Department of Economic Affairs; Advisor in the Expenditure Management Commission; and OSD to the Finance Minister and Director in the FM Office.

As student, he is pursuing PhD in Trade Facilitation from Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, Sonipat. As teacher, he has joined IIT Jodhpur as Adjunct Professor of Practice. He is also a consultant with the ADB.

He studied Economics Honours at St. Stephen’s College and then obtained Masters in Economics from Delhi School of Economics. He is presently.

Vijay has taught at various national level institutes including IIM Bangalore, IIM, Vizag, MDI, Gurgaon, NIPFP, New Delhi, Mumbai School of Economics, besides NACIN; and has published research papers in peer reviewed journals on fiscal matters and trade facilitation issues. His co-authored paper titled “Measuring Trade Facilitation – Evidence from India” has been placed as Room document by the WTO. He also writes on these issues in the national dailies.

He is a passionate long-distance runner, having run more than 30 half-marathons.

He received the Presidential Award in 2014.