DG Systems of Customs to facilitate trade

In view of the challenges due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, the DG Systems of Customs has recently revealed a slew of further initiatives that the Department is going to implement soon to facilitate trade through digitisation and Public Private Partnership (PPP). Sandeep Kumar, DG Systems, Government of India emphasised the need of achieving transparent process in customs clearance which will help to enhance security and revenue of the country. Kumar called on FFFAI Chairman, A.V. Vijaykumar, in the webinar, to work on blockchain technology for achieving the centralised KYC and also to achieve further uniformity in various processes involved in customs clearance of exim cargo. While accepting the recommendations from DG Systems regarding creation of blockchain to work on creation of a centralised database of all the importers and exporters, Vijaykumar conveyed that FFFAI with its outreach to every nook and corner of the country is geared up for creating the centralised KYC database of importers and exporters transacting through customs, which will help to create a secure working environment. Complimenting the DG Systems and CBIC for their progressive steps, Karunakar Shetty, President, BCBA, said, “CBs and frontline workers have braved against all odds and have ensured that customs clearance have taken place through ports, airports, ICDs, etc. for supply of essential goods to India’s citizens.”
Anupam Prakash, EDG, Systems along Kshitij Jain, Joint Commissioner, Systems unveiled future endeavour of the Directorate of Systems by carrying out various upgradation in the system which will result in high degree of paperless transaction. He explained the recent online module which has been introduced for carrying out import clearance further. Prakash also conveyed that similar module is being worked out for export with lot of features like import side.
“Centralised KYC with signature verification through the banker of EXIM trade would enhance the security,” suggests S Ramakrishna, Immediate Past Chairman, FFFAI. He continues, “FFFAI have already given a proposal to the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Commerce in this regard. It was also suggested that similar to import and LEO documents if it is sent in PDF format along with copy to shipping line and load port the TR-1 and TR-2 can be done away with. Registration of goods should be immediately after the entry of goods in customs area along with uploading with Annexure-C is also recommended for minimising handling of export goods.”
Dushyant Mulani, Honorary Secretary, FFFAI lists a few suggestions:
• Auto monitoring and escalation mechanism to check the pendency in import Bill of Entries and export Shipping Bills: FFFAI suggested that for better monitoring of pendency for assessment and examination, the Customs EDI system software should be designed in a manner so that if a particular document is pending for more than three hours, there should be automatic alert to the senior officer i.e. Additional Commissioner of Customs and Commissioner of Customs in charge of that section. Alternately if the Bill of Entry/Shipping Bill is not getting assessed or examined within stipulated hours, say three hours, the same should be released by facilitating under RMS.
• Duplication of manual process to be avoided while executing bonds with Customs: FFFAI suggested that there should be provision created in the EDI system, wherein, when a Bond is submitted, at the time of filing the Bill of Entry with customs, the same should get automatically debited and the duplication of process which is prevalent at present, besides manual process, should be avoided.
• LEO time and date required to be mentioned on Shipping Bills: As is being done on import side, FFFAI requested that the export module in ICEGATE should also specifically mention exact time of each activity from submission to LEO such as Assessment, DC Release, Registration of Documents for LEO, Query reply in the same manner of imports and Feeding examination report and LEO.
• FFFAI also recommended that CTD declaration for transit cargo should be brought under EDI instead of manual at present.
Shinde expressed gratitude to Customs for their trade-friendly initiatives to facilitate trade on technology platform to expedite customs clearances of cargo shipment going paperless and avoid human interaction, especially at this challenging time because of COVID-19 pandemic. He further maintained that the trade would be immensely benefited by the DG System, Sandeep Kumar’s new initiatives to offer a digital interactive platform.
“He played an important role in recommendation of India’s accession to TIR Convention. It would immensely help Indian EXIM trade to follow international best practices through government and industry stakeholders’ collaborative efforts,” Shinde adds.