As the government makes strides in its commitment towards Ease of Doing Business, the flagship programme by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBIC)- “Turant Customs” is a welcome reform for saving time and going paperless, in a world where time is of essence and social distancing, the norm. In this story, we explore the many facets of Turant Customs.
As the Centre works consistently to promote India as the manufacturing hub across the globe and fulfill its commitment towards ease of doing business, the initiative by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBIC) is a welcome move that seeks to provide uniformity in assessment by taking recourse to technology for faster customs clearance of imported goods.
Turant Customs, as its direct translation signifies, is a faster, contactless process in customs that is deemed to optimise the in-house testing capabities of the customs process. A secure QR coded Shipping Bill whose main component is Faceless Assessment, it is expected to be implemented in phases across the entire country by 1st January 2021.
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) had rolled out this Bill in a way that it could be electronically sent to exporters after the Customs allows export.
Reaping the many benefits of Turant Customs
Turant Customs does away with the requirement of exporters having to approach the Customs officers for proof of export, thus making the end to end Customs export process fully electronic, starting from the filing of the Shipping Bill to the final order to allow export.
Under this initiative, one of the prominent changes will be in Indian Customs Electronic Data Interchange System (ICES) 1.5 for clearance of imported goods after evaluation and duty payment. As per this, the concerned official will approach a completely automated line of Bill of Entry set for permitting clearance in ICES 1.5.
This does away with the requirement of shippers displaying the BoE number and date to the official for clearance. Hence, the official will have the option to immediately provide the clearance on the framework.
The government had also planned to set up Turant Suvidha Kendra (TSKs) to all the customs formations from mid-July as the only physical interface point with customs formations whenever physical submission of documents is necessary.
Diminishing Abide Time
As a move that stresses upon how time is of absolute essence, Turant Customs will lead to a massive reduction in the abide time by 6-8 hours. This will prove to be instrumental for administrators and customers who will be left with more time in their hands.
The reforms under the Turant Customs Initiative taken by CBIC are based on “enhanced use of digital technology to reduce the time and costs for the importers, exporters and other stakeholders, thereby improving India’s ranking in the World Bank’s Trading Across Borders parameter of its Doing Business Report”, as stated in their official release. The reforms were also an endeavour to enter the main 50 positioning in The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) Index.
A basic part of EoDB record rankings 2019 is the Trading Across Borders classification wherein India is positioned 80. This was made possible owing to changes like Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade, e-Sanchit (e-Storage and mechanized treatment of backhanded expense archives), and Direct Port Delivery. In addition to Authorized Economic Operator program and RFID e-seal program, this culminated into diminishing the time and cost of clearance of goods in different Customs ports.
The launch of paperless documentation on exports mirrors a similar initiative that was commenced for imports on April 15, 2020.
Going paperless: The Way forward
The electronic transmission of the Shipping Bill would do away with the present requirement to take a paper printout of the required documents thereby promoting greener Customs. Apart from this environment-friendly move, exporters will also be granted more time since they no longer have to visit the Customs Houses for this purpose like they used to.
With its commitment to delivering a faster process in an age ruled by the norms of social distancing, the newer reforms are surely the way forward apart from enabling stricter and more efficient manner of monitoring goods.