FSSAI extends validity of No Objection Certificate for Alco-Bevs

By Shubhi Mishra

The Customs Department, under Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), Government of India, issued an advisory regarding the permissions to de-bond stocks within the validity period of the No Objection Certificate (NOC) issued by FSSAI. Since 1 September 2021, customs authorities were not allowing the movement of goods where the validity of NOC has crossed the defined timeline of 30 days.

UKIBC, on behalf of AlcoBev industry members, requested FSSAI for an immediate intervention which has resulted in a formal notification, dated 24 November 2021, titled as: Direction under Section 16 (5) of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 regarding extension of validity of the NOC for the Alcoholic Beverages Bottled in Origin & in Bulk-reg. Thus, with this directive, FSSAI has extended the validity of NOC for the Alcoholic Beverages.

For imported consignments of Alcoholic Beverages containing more than 10 percent alcohol which does not have an expiry date (for Bottled in Origin and in Bulk), the NOC issued as per the FSS (Import) Regulations, 2017 will have a validity of 300 days. For consignments lying at ports customs area beyond 300 days, visual inspection may be carried out for re-validation of NOC on payment of a visual inspection fee.

UKIBC is proud to be a voice for UK food and drink businesses in India and has long been advocating their issues to the Indian government. Upon receival of advisory from CBIC to de-bond stocks within the validity period of the NOC, UKIBC liaised with UK businesses and made a representation to the FSSAI covering the rationale and recommendations of both short-term and long-term solutions.

UK alcoholic beverage businesses together account for a substantial portion of the volume and value of all branded alcoholic spirits sold in India and thereby a major contributor to the revenues of the States.

Such reforms by FSSAI and CBIC, showcases important Ease of Doing Business steps by GoI, which certainly help businesses build further confidence in the Indian authorities and expand investments in India by UK companies.

The UKIBC and UK businesses warmly welcome this progressive move and appreciate the FSSAI team for their forward-looking approach to reforming the food and drink sector, and improving the Ease of Doing Business, and thus helping to strengthen UK-India trade and investment. In addition, such measures will resume the production at bottling units in India, which was earlier on hold due to the bulk being stuck in Bond, with positive results for States revenue and employment.

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