• Virtual assessments to be carried out by Specialists in specific cargoes
  • Possibility of relaxing the INR 10 lakh bank guarantee for operators interested in EOA status

In line with the assurance of abiding by the Ease of Doing Business, the Customs Department is all set to take it a notch higher by going ahead with the concept of faceless assessment of cargo across the country over the next few months, whereby consignments will be assessed by a virtual group irrespective of where the Bill of Entry is filed, a top official has said.

A Bill of Entry is a document filed by an importer or an exporter specifying the nature, quantity and value of goods that have landed or are being shipped out.

Baswaraj Nalegave, Commissioner of Customs (City and ICD), Bangalore has also shared a pertinent piece of information that the assessment of cargo need not be done at the same place where the Bill of Entry is filed.

“Suppose, a Bill of Entry is filed in Mangaluru, and it pertains to, say, a particular fuel oil. There can be specialised Custom Houses in the country which specialise in a specific cargo and these alone will assess that Bill no matter where it is filed,” he said.

There has been a prolonged problem plaguing India’s export-import trade. It is seen that every seaport carries out assessment and examination in its own way-with Customs officers not adhering to a standard set of rules but instead, adopting complete divergence in practices. The Commissioner also assured that this will soon be brought to a halt.

Licensed Economic Operator

The Customs Department has also shared that it might consider relaxing the Rs 10-lakh bank guarantee for logistics operators who are interested in acquiring the status of authorised economic operator (AEO). AEO is an entity engaged in international trade and approved by Customs and compliant with supply chain security standards prescribed by the World Customs Organisation.

“The World Customs Organisation is looking at how to leverage an AEO in multi-lateral and bi-lateral agreements between countries. As and when that happens, and if in the entire supply chain each one is an AEO, maximum benefits will accrue to it. That means that exporting and importing nations would have to have similar standards on that count,” he added.

Customs has played a vital role in elevating India’s ranking in the Ease of doing business, that has jumped 14 places from 77 to 63 this year last year.

Recently, the Customs had introduced the concept of document identification number while sending out letters to exporters and importers calling for a hearing, seeking details, or issuing show-cause notices.

The authenticity of the document identification number can be checked by accessing the website of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC).

“Any document of the Customs which does not display the document identification number can be ignored. This is the extent of facilitation we have reached,” Nalegave said.