Actionable intelligence input rare, dumping of e-waste into India an area of concern: Sitharaman

NEW DELHI, Dec 4: While lauding the role of anti-smuggling agency DRI (Directorate of Revenue Intelligence) in securing the economic frontiers of the country, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday called for faster disposal of cases, enhanced information-sharing mechanism and actionable intelligence gathering for better performance.
“Actionable intelligence is probably rare. You get a lot of intelligence inputs but sometimes and many times I think, I would say many times, it is difficult to identify if it is really actionable. Sometimes they are so generic.
To act on it becomes difficult or if you act on every one of them you probably are chasing the holy grail,” she said while speaking at the foundation day of DRI (Directorate of Revenue Intelligence).
Listing out big-ticket catch by the DRI such as 3000 kgs of heroin seizure at Gujarat’s Mundra Port, the Finance Minister said that the brazenness with which such illegal acts are sought to be carried out need to be addressed.
Sitharaman noted that dumping of e-waste is another area DRI needs to become active to ensure that they do not reach the country’s shores.
Highlighting the importance of speedier conclusion of cases, she said that it not only acts as deterrence against illegal acts but also ensures that big handlers are also caught apart from small fries and fish in the game.
Sitharaman also asked officials to come up with suggestions to prevent smuggling. She also released the “Smuggling in India Report 2020-21” on the occasion.
Earlier addressing the officials, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) Chairman Vivek Johri suggested a review of the SOP and business processes within DRI to identify stages where timelines may be compressed so that investigations may be accelerated.
“This would ensure conclusion of investigations are prompt and process itself does not become a punishment,” he said.
He also said that DRI would further strengthen its monitoring system by adding value to its current IT tools.
“Greater infusion of technology for smarter policing and more efficient and optimal use of human resources is another area that we need to look at,” he said.
Johri stressed on the new and emerging areas of concerns such as dumping of e-waste, hazardous chemicals and municipal waste while noting the need for improving further on intelligence cooperation.
As he praised the efforts of DRI, Johri also said that the organisation’s performance metric, return on investment, is very high.
“If you just stack up recoveries alone and compare them with the budget that DRI (Directorate of Revenue Intelligence) uses for its activities, the return on investment is a whopping 900 per cent. This comprises of recoveries only. If you were to compare this with detections, it will further zoom to an astronomical figure,” the CBI Chairman said.
In his address, Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj underlined that economic security of the country is also linked with national security.
“Economic security of the country is also very much linked to the physical security of the country. And you play a very important role therein because any drug, any gold smuggling is just not an economic threat but also a security threat to the nation,” Bajaj said.
“I think in that context I would slightly disagree with the Chairman, CBIC in trying to evaluate you (DRI) on returns on investment. Your return on investment in that sense cannot be measured and I think you are doing a great job there. I think the only thing I would like to say that the moment we think we are doing great that is the moment we stop developing, stop improving,” he added. (UNI)