NEW DELHI: People flying in and out of India will not need to “furnish any additional information to airlines” as per Central Board for Indirect Taxes and Customs’ (CBIC) gazette notification on data collection, the Union finance ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The new rule is for enhancing “national security” and that in “normal course, the data collected is stored only for five years after which it is disposed of by depersonalisation or anonymisation,” it said.
“These regulations are meant to enhance detection, interdiction and investigative capabilities of Customs Authorities using non-intrusive techniques for combating offences related to smuggling of contraband such as narcotics, psychotropic substances, gold, arms and ammunition that directly impact national security. This mechanism is being widely used by border management agencies of several administrations,” the statement said about the Passenger Name Record Information Regulations, 2022.
“The regulations require operator of aircraft (airlines) to transmit specified information electronically to the designated Customs System. Passengers are not required to individually submit any information to customs, neither do they need to furnish any additional information to airlines on account of these regulations,” it said.
In a statement on the new rule, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said: “…The requirements are in general in line with the standards and no significant concerns are found. IATA is planning to provide comments on implementation considerations, (like) sufficient timeline, flexibility in requirements, EU carriers’ constraint and seek further implementation details. IATA will keep airlines informed of any update in this regard.”
The ministry of finance statement said airlines are already collecting this information as per the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation.
The data exchange between airlines and the Customs Systems is through (a specific) message format (that is) endorsed jointly by World Customs Organisation, International Civil Aviation Organisation, IATA and is widely used internationally.
The board admits that while some of these required data elements are available from other sources, “the objective of these regulations is to obtain this data in advance of departure or arrival of the passengers for analytics by the Customs Risk Management System.”
CBIC said the information collected is subject to strict information privacy and data protection and there are adequate legal and administrative safeguards built in.
Processing of the information to reveal ethnicity, race, religious or philosophical beliefs, health is strictly prohibite, it added.
“Hardware and software necessary for data protection has already been envisaged…. The regulations provide for an extensive and independent system audit and security audit to prevent misuse of the information,” it says.