The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs chairman Pranab K Das on Thursday said “various initiatives” have resulted in a reduction of approximately 300 hours in import and export clearance time and cut down transaction costs.
“This year’s theme of World Customs Organisation for the International Customs Day is smart borders for seamless trade, travel, and transport. The theme reverberates with the various reform measures that Customs have initiated in the context of reducing transaction time and costs of import and export clearance coupled with intensive trade as well as passenger facilitation efforts,” Das said in his address ahead of the International Customs Day on January 26.
Das said 2018 deserves a special mention as India secured an all-time highest rank of 77 in the Ease of Doing Business rankings. He said there was a “quantum jump” in India’s Trading Across Borders ranking from 146th to 80th, the highest by any nation.
He said some of the reform measures include the mandatory filing of import declaration within a specified time, the introduction of eSanchit making the entire process of consignment clearance faceless and paperless.
Das added the others include implementation of electronic sealing for containers by exporters under the self-sealing procedure to strengthen the existing Risk Management System and create a trust-based environment using tamper-proof e-seals in place of physical seals used earlier.
This has also reduced the time associated with the clearance of export containers, he added.
“The reform measures are being monitored at the highest level under the aegis of the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan 2017-2020 which aims to improve the overall efficiency of cross-border clearances,’’ said Das.
He said in pursuance of the goals spelled out in the plan, Customs, in conjunction with other border agencies and stakeholders, have been making efforts to bring down the cargo release time through both policy and procedural interventions to remove bottlenecks.
Das said an improved inter-ministerial co-operation in pursuance of various trade facilitation measures including the single window, active participation by the industry and regular monitoring by Customs through time release studies have made “significant and positive change” in perception of the trade and international analysts.