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Commerce Ministry starts COVID-19 helpdesk to resolve import, export issues

The Commerce Ministry on Monday said it has started a COVID-19 helpdesk to help resolve issues of exporters and importers pertaining to international trade such as customs clearance delays and banking matters.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), an arm of the ministry, took this initiative to monitor the status of exports and imports, and difficulties being faced by trade stakeholders in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases.

“DGFT has accordingly operationalised a ‘COVID-19 Helpdesk’ to support and seek suitable resolutions to issues arising in respect of international trade,” the ministry said.

It added that the helpdesk would look into issues relating to import and export licensing, customs clearance delays and complexities arising thereon, import/export documentation, and banking matters.

“Helpdesk would also collect and collate trade related issues concerning other ministries/departments/agencies of central and state governments and will coordinate to seek their support and provide possible resolution,” it said.

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Stakeholders can submit information on the DGFT website about their issues on which support is required.

“The status of resolutions and feedback may be tracked using the status tracker under the DGFT Helpdesk Services. Email and SMS would also be sent as and when the status of these tickets are updated,” the ministry said.

In another development, a PIB release says that the Indian Railways announced that over 5,601 train coaches were converted to Covid Care Centres. Presently, a total of 3,816 coaches are available for use. These can be used for very mild cases that can be clinically assigned to the Covid Care Centres as per guidelines issued by MoHFW.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in a tweet on Saturday said, “In Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, 20 Covid Care Coaches have been arranged by the Indian Railways, which will have 320 beds. These coaches will start functioning fully from April 25.” 

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

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