India and Nepal have been extending co-operation to each other in the areas of Customs, Wildlife and other cross-border issues. A Director General Level meeting between the Customs administration of the two countries takes place every year in India and Nepal alternately. The objective of this meeting is to understand and resolve the difficulties in implementing the procedures relating to import and export of goods between the two countries, including transit through Indian territory of goods imported/exported by Nepal from/to third countries. Thus, this meeting plays a vital role in strengthening the bilateral and transit trade relations. Sixteen (16) such Director General Level Talks have been held between the two sides. The last 16th DG Level Talks were held in New Delhi on 20-21 May, 2013.
Co-operation in wildlife related matters
On the wildlife front, Mission takes initiative in matters relating to protection of endangered species. In the recent past, efforts have been made to curb the smuggling of Red Sanders Wood from India to other countries via Nepal amd for repatriation of Red Sanders Wood which were confiscated/seized in Nepal while attempting to smuggle from India to other countries through Nepal. Red Sanders Wood is endemic to Seshachalam Ranges in India and is a species figuring in Appendix-II of the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). The export of this endangered species is prohibited. As per the spirit of the provision of CITES, as a result of close coordination with the Forest and Wild Life authorities of Govt. of Nepal, 23.75 MT of Red Sanders Wood was handed over to the Govt. of India by the Govt. of Nepal on 14.10.2009 for transporting to India and 8.303 MT of Red Sanders Woods was repatriated to India in the month of October, 2010.
Rail Services Agreement (RSA): India and Nepal signed a RSA in May 2004 to extend cargo train service to the Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Birgunj in Nepal. The RSA was modified in December 2008 to allow oil/liquid traffic in tank wagons and bilateral break-bulk cargo in flat wagons by means of Letter of Exchange dated 17 December, 2008. The bilateral rail traffic for break-bulk cargo on flat wagons is allowed during day time only. A comprehensive review meeting of India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement (RSA) was held in November, 2009.
Pursuant to the decision taken during Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting on Trade, Transit and Cooperation to Control Unauthorized Trade held at New Delhi on December 5-6, 2011, the second Comprehensive Review Meeting on India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement was held at Kathmandu on March 01-02, 2012 to review the progress on outstanding issues. During the meeting, both sides interalia agreed for allowing (i) Movement of Open Boxes (BOXN wagons) for Bilateral and Transit Trade of coal, clinker etc. which would be extended with some conditions and (ii) Movement of Transit break-bulk cargo on flat wagons which cannot be handled manually such as HR coils and heavy equipment/machinery etc. These decisions will be operationalised after signing of Letter of Exchange.
Movement of Nepalese goods, Nepalese vehicles and baggage from one part of Nepal to other through Indian territory: Transit of goods and vehicles from one part of Nepal to other through Indian territory has been facilitated through Letters of Exchange in 1993 by India and Nepal, as per the provisions of the Treaty of Transit between the two countries.
On the public facilitation front, Economic Wing extends services in the following areas:
(a) Vehicle Permit: A large number of Nepalese vehicles (vehicles registered in Nepal) visit India for various purposes. Taking into account the cordial relationship between the two countries, vehicular movement across the border is allowed on the basis of a permit issued by the Indian Mission in Nepal. Such a permit is issued against an application in the prescribed proforma (copy enclosed) by the owner of the vehicle or duly authorized by him (Proforma of Authorisation letter is enclosed). The owner of the vehicle is required to execute a Bank Guarantee covering the period of the permit. The validity of Bank Guarantee should be 30 days extra over the period permit sought. Copies of the registration book and insurance policy of the vehicle concerned are also required to be submitted along with the application. A consular fee is charged towards such permits and maximum validity period of the permit is six months in case of oil tankers, cars, jeeps, two-wheelers etc. Such permits are issued with multiple entry facility against a fee of NRs. 5000/- (for permit valid upto six months) and NRs.2600/- (for permit valid upto three months). Motorcycles are issued multiple entry permits against a fee of NRs.1000/- and NRs.1800/- (for three months and six months validity respectively). Buses/trucks are issued single or double entry permits valid for a maximum period of three months against a fee of NRs.1000/- (Single Entry) and NRs.1800/- (Double Entry).
(b) Transfer of Residence: Indian nationals returning to India with their used/old household goods after staying abroad at least for a period of two years are entitled for concession in Customs duty under the Baggage Rules. While some of the items attract only concessional rate of duty, most of the items can be imported without payment of any Customs duty. Since there is no passport/visa regime exists between India and Nepal and thereby it is difficult to find out the exact duration of stay of an Indian national in Nepal, Indian Customs accord transfer of residence facility to Indian nationals returning from Nepal on the basis of the recommendation by the Indian Embassy, Kathmandu. Letters are issued by the Economic Wing to the concerned Airport or Land Customs Station in India recommending benefit under the Baggage Rules (Transfer of Residence Rules) for Indian nationals who have stayed in Nepal for at least two years and returning to India for good, on surrender of their original registration certificates as Indian nationals issued by the Embassy of India against an application in the prescribed proforma (copy enclosed). No fee is charged towards this service.
(c) NOC for import of chemicals/explosives from India: Based on the recommendation of the Govt. of Nepal, No Objection Certificates are issued for importation of chemicals/explosives into Nepal from India. A consular fee of NRs. 1000/- is charged for this service.
(d) Temporary import of film negatives into India: To facilitate temporary importation of cine/film negatives into India for processing and developing purposes, letters are issued to the concerned Customs office in India. Such letters are issued on the basis of the recommendation by the Govt. of Nepal. A consular fee of to NRs. 1,000/- is charged for this service.
A copy of the application form is enclosed for ease of the applicant.
Applications for Vehicle Permits, Transfer of Residence, NOC for import of chemicals, import of film negatives etc. are accepted in the Economic Wing from 11.00 A.M. to 1.00 P.M and Permits/NOC to that effect is issued on the next working day between 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. For further enquiry, the officer may be contacted on Telephone No. 4410900/ 4414990/ 4411699 (Extn. 4175/4216).