The government has asked the airlines to share the contact details, PNR details and payment related information of all international passengers with the customs officials 24 hours before the flight takes off. In a notification, the Finance Ministry said that the information received from the details of passengers will be used to improve surveillance of passengers entering or out of the country and alert on risk.
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on Monday, while implementing the ‘Passenger Name Record Information Regulations, 2022’, has asked airline companies to compulsorily comply with it.
The purpose of this regulation is to conduct ‘risk analysis’ of passengers, so that economic and other criminals can be prevented from fleeing the country. Along with this, this provision will help in checking any illegal activities like smuggling. With this, India has joined the list of 60 countries collecting PNR details of international flight passengers.
According to the notification,”Each airline will inform the customs department about the names and other records of the passengers. The airlines have already collected this information under normal business operations.”
It has been said in the notification that every airline will have to register with the customs department to comply with this rule. Airlines will have to give information of international passengers coming to and out of India. This information will include the name of the passenger, billing/payment details (credit card number), date of issue of the ticket along with the names of other persons traveling on the same PNR ticket.
The government had proposed in the budget five years ago to give information about PNR of international air passengers to the customs department 24 hours before the flight. But its formal framework has now come to the fore.
However, the government has not given the reason behind making such arrangements mandatory. But analysts said that this provision is to prevent bank loan defaulters from fleeing the country. The government itself has said in Parliament that a total of 38 economic criminals like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya have fled the country in the last five years.
According to this notification, for non-compliance of this rule, the airline will have to pay a fine of at least Rs 25,000 and up to a maximum of Rs 50,000 for every violation. Apart from this, information related to passengers can also be shared with other legal agencies if needed. However, such a step will be taken after looking into the matter.