To expedite the release of COVID-19 vaccines imported into the country, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has put in place a COVID Response Plan at all major airports, with dedicated teams to fast-track vaccines’ evacuation at each air cargo terminal.
The import and export of COVID-19 vaccines through courier services has also been permitted without any value limit, through amendments to the Courier Imports and Exports (Electronic Declaration and Processing) Regulations, that prescribed limits on the value of goods that could be brought in through courier.
“As the vaccines would be transported through special containers equipped with temperature monitoring and tracking devices, provision has also been made for their duty-free temporary admission,” the Board said in a statement, adding a Standard Operating Protocol (SoP) is being developed for the instant release of vaccines from airports.
According to the plan, teams working on this will plan their schedules so that there is adequate personnel working around the clock, including on holidays. The jurisdictional Commissioner may necessarily augment manpower to meet this requirement, the CBIC plan stated.
“A Public Notice shall be issued on the above to ensure widespread awareness of the SoP among importers and the larger trading community. These measures are necessary to ensure minimum variance in process duration, which can pose a challenge, given the consistent cooling requirements,” the plan said.