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Publishing confidential export-import data may now lead you to jail – Business Standard

Export | exports imports | Budget 2022
Asit Ranjan Mishra & Arup Roychoudhury  Last Updated at February 5, 2022 20:33 IST

The government has proposed to make it a punishable offence with up to six months of imprisonment if details about quantity and value of individual and import items are published by a person.
The FY23 Budget has proposed to introduce section 135AA in the through the for “protection of data”.document.write(““);googletag.cmd.push(function(){googletag.defineOutOfPageSlot(‘/6516239/outofpage_1x1_desktop’,’div-gpt-ad-1490771277198-0′).addService(googletag.pubads());googletag.pubads().enableSyncRendering();googletag.enableServices();});


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“If a person publishes any information relating to the value or classification or quantity of goods entered for from India, or import into India, or the details of the exporter or importer of such goods under this Act, unless required so to do under any law for the time being in force, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees, or with both,” the said.
It further clarified that nothing contained in this section shall apply to any publication made by or on behalf of the central government. “For the purposes of this section, the expression ‘publishes’ includes reproducing the information in printed or electronic form and making it available for public,” it added.

Also Read: 'Sec 135AA aimed at hackers of commercially sensitive trade-related data'
The explanatory memorandum of the Finance Bill, 2022 said the Section 135AA is being inserted in the to “protect the import and data submitted to Customs by importers or exporters in their declarations by making the publishing of such information unless provided by the law, as an offence under .”
“The customs import and export data about the valuations are confidential data. But some people were having access to this data and they were publishing it. The amendment now makes it an offence liable to penalty,” a government official said under condition of anonymity.
Similar provisions exist under the Collection of Statistics Act under which the government collects price and output data, making it an offence for the government employees from disclosing any information shared by producers. “No information contained in any information schedule and no answer to any question asked shall, except for the purposes of a prosecution under this Act, be separately published, or disclosed without suppressing the identification of informants to any agency,” the Act says.
The Act makes any such act as punishable with simple imprisonment for a term upto six months or with a fine up to Rs 2000 or, in the case of a company, with a fine which may extend to Rs 10,000 or both.
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